Why Girls & Women
Adolescent girls and young women have overcome many obstacles and barriers to achieve economic empowerment and gender equality. However, evidence is indicating that COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting women and girls around the world and threatens the gains of the past decades in advancing girls and women’s economic empowerment, health, rights and safety.
Education and School Dropouts
An estimated 20 million girls will not return to education.
Lack of education will directly impact girls opportunities for independent economic empowerment as well as individual agency and safety.
Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Impacts
As resources are being diverted to emergency health services and other COVID-19 related issues, already scarce SRHR services will be even less accessible to adolescent girls and young women, negatively impacting their bodily autonomy.
Gender-based Violence and Social Impacts
Pre-COVID-19, 243 million girls and women across the world have been subjected to sexual or physical violence by an intimate partner. As the pandemic continues, it increasingly endangers their wellbeing, sexual and reproductive health, mental health, and their ability to participate and lead in the economic recovery of society.²
Disproportionate Economic Burden
Women-owned businesses have experienced more business closures and stoppages due to COVID-19 restrictions. In work, informal workers have lost more than half their income and a quarter of women in formal jobs are leaving the workforce or downshifting their careers. These losses are leaving many in desperate poverty, often with little opportunity for dignified employment or re-skilling.
Women perform nearly 3 times the unpaid care, which is increasing due to school closures and elder care required during the pandemic.
FILLING THE GAP
Experts now fear that the gendered economic effects of the pandemic might outlast the health impacts. The hard-fought equity gains for adolescent girls and young women are being lost and need to be recovered. Therefore, there is a need for an effort centred on adolescent girls’ and young women's financial resilience that connects the dots between sustained COVID-19 recovery and building long-term, systemic change for more resilient girls, young women and, consequently, communities.
WE NEED TO ACT NOW
Very few funds relate gender equity to economic resilience, and existing funds related to COVID-19 response for adolescent girls and young women are primarily focused on short-term, critical needs. We need to act now, to ensure that COVID-19 - a health emergency - does not become an economic crisis for adolescent girls and young women too.