Listening to Women and Girls on the Frontlines
Women Founders Collective
The girl child, Women and the economy, Human rights of women, Education and training of women, Violence against women, Women and poverty
SDG 1 – No Poverty, SDG 2 – Zero Hunger, SDG3 – Good Health and Well-Being, SDG4 – Quality Education, SDG5 – Gender Equality, SDG 10 – Reduced Inequality
Harassment (2016), Human Rights for Refugee and Refugee Women and Children (2019), Sexual Harassment in Workplace (2019)
It does not really but raised awareness.
This event shared stories of NGO leaders and their work with adolescent girls and young women concerning the impact of COVID on their work and how the pandemic had effected their lives. Sadly the speaker from Nigeria was not able to connect electronically but the stories from India were fascinating and no doubt were repeated in many other areas of the world. Issues included education, health, early marriage, gender-based violence and their future.

In India 112 million jobs were lost and millions of migrant workers came home as a result of COVID. It lead to increased poverty, violence, lack of education, pressure for marriage and fear of self-infliction. Yet despite all there were stories where young women coped and came up with some creative activities to fill a gap or solve a problem – like the making of maskings or creating pumps for water and soap so that taps would not have to be handled.

The pandemic led to the loss of safe jobs for many girls. Many lost their fathers and were not ready for the market or migration so were in dire straights. Parents married many off. Young girls are the most vulnerable.

They are the natural care givers and so education was not a priority in the family for them when schools were closed. Fortunate to have only one device in a home, it went to the brothers and older family for on-line learning or work. Without much formal education or training, young adolescents had trouble getting work. Education is needed to get good work. It is the most important method by which to become empowered yet it has been threatened and in many cases stopped because of COVID.

Yet resilience is seen among some. If only one device is available young girls will find a way to share. With very few jobs available there is much competition. Basic training is essential to give a young girl confidence and negotiating skills in a tight market. Legal literacy is important too and comes with basic training.

Funding is needed for such and flexible funding as conditions vary so. There need to be initiatives to create new jobs. Meanwhile 95% of young girls are in the informal sector and jobs if available are not secure. The market has its own rules and one has to negotiate. Without capital they have only their bodies. COVID has pushed some adolescent girls back a century. Some are hopeful and say they will migrate. They need tools to survive.
The session raised awareness on the local level of how dire the current situation is for some adolescent girls.

More watching and reading to see opportunities available.

Author: Hally Siddons

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