Experience tells us that public health outbreaks have distinct gendered impacts, and that preparedness and response efforts must understand the gender dimensions of these crises to avert widening inequalities and seize opportunities to advance gender equality. The COVID-19 pandemic is no different. Most governments around the world have temporarily closed educational institutions in recent months in an attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19. In April 2020, schooling was disrupted for 1.3 billion students from pre-primary through secondary in over 190 countries. Now, in 46 countries, 735 million students, including 356 million girls, are uncertain when they will sit in a classroom again. This includes those who have been involved in distance learning for the past 6-9 months during the COVID pandemic, as well as newly enrolled students. Some 23.8 million children and youth (from pre-primary to tertiary), including over 11 million girls, may drop out due to the pandemic’s economic impact. As governments consider whether to continue distance learning, or reopen schools, they must consider the risks of exacerbating disparities, and how to address the potential for disengagement and drop out among both boys and girls when schools reopen.
UNESCO COVID-19 Education Response. Education Sector issue notes. Issue note 3.1