South Asia is home to the largest population of youth and adolescents in the world. Lockdowns implemented to address the pandemic in the region have resulted in unprecedented economic crises and deepening inequalities, with particularly severe impacts for women and girls. They face increased risks of gender-based violence, unintended pregnancy and child marriage, but policy responses have yet to address their specific needs and challenges. This situation must change.
Governments must step up their efforts and provide adequate resources and include women and girls as drivers of the COVID-19 response in South Asia.
We need to work together as a partnership to make sure that girls at risk of child marriage and married girls don’t get left behind during the COVID-19 response and recovery. That’s why we’re compiling regular roundups of resources that may be useful to Girls Not Brides member organisations at this difficult time. These are linked in this series of blogs, and a selection can also be found in our Resource Centre. So far, we have covered the issues of gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health and rights, economic impacts, girls’ education, human rights in Latin America and Caribbean, a feminist analysis of the economic impacts and opportunities to engage women and girls in Africa.
This week, we focus on the gendered and differential impacts of the pandemic on children – particularly girls – in South Asia. We have selected the resources below to further our understanding of the pandemic in the region, and to ensure that the response and recovery is based on a sustainable model that supports women and children’s long-term wellbeing.
The impact of COVID-19 on women, Population Foundation of India
This policy brief explores the differential impact of COVID-19 on women and girls in India. It also offers recommendations for partnerships between governments, civil society organisations and the private sector to ensure that women and girls remain central to COVID-19 response planning and recovery efforts. It covers the issues of violence against women and girls, economic impacts, mental health and access to sexual and reproductive health services, and shows how the effects of COVID-19 are exacerbated for women and girls across every sphere.
This report suggests that more than 430 million children are already out of school because of the pandemic and warns that 120 million more could be pushed into poverty within the next six months. The report covers the areas of health, nutrition, water sanitation and hygiene, education, child protection, and youth and community engagement, sharing insights into children’s lives and coping mechanisms. It calls on governments and their international, private sector and other partners to prioritise critical actions and policies to ease the transition to a sustainable development model with long-term benefits for child wellbeing.
This report presents initial data from multi-country surveys on the differential impact of COVID-19 on women and girls in South Asia. The preliminary assessment looks at access to information, health, income, and care and domestic work in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Maldives, Pakistan, the Philippines and Thailand.
Rights of children in the time of COVID-19, HAQ Centre for Child Rights
India has a total population of 1.3 billion, of which 37% are children. Children’s rights and needs must be taken into serious and immediate consideration in national budgets, policies and actions to address the pandemic. This policy brief includes recommendations for government, the judiciary and human rights institutions, including in the areas of health and nutrition, education and protection.
The cursed blessing of public banks, The World Bank
This report offers a comprehensive look at the economic impacts of COVID-19 in South Asia, where inequality already means that poor people are more likely to become infected, lack access to health care, lose their job and be vulnerable to spikes in food prices. It profiles eight countries, capturing macro-economic indicators and impacts on gross domestic product (GDP), the role of public banks in recovery plans, and an early analysis of policy responses. Poverty is a key driver of child marriage, making this report an important resource in our work to prevent it.
This article looks at the spread of COVID-19 in India and provides a tool for district-level planning and responses. It uses publicly available data to rank each district under five domains – socioeconomic, demographic, hygiene, health system and epidemiological – that make them vulnerable to natural disaster. The resulting vulnerability index is meant to help planners and policy makers prioritise resource allocation and risk mitigation strategies in COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts.
In the time it has taken to read this article 49 girls under the age of 18 have been married
Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18
That is 23 girls every minute
Nearly 1 every 2 seconds