5 things to know about COVID-19’s impact on girls on International Day of the Girl

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Falling on 11 October, International Day of the Girl Child is a United Nations day that brings attention to “girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.” Empowering young girls early in life can give them the “potential to change the world — both as the empowered girls of today and as of tomorrow’s workers, mothers, entrepreneurs, mentors, household heads, and political leaders.”

However, as we’ve seen with previous health crises, COVID-19’s lingering economic and social impacts on young girls and women could have dire effects. In our recent series on COVID-19’s impact on women, we’ve explored how the pandemic is impacting girls’ education, how it’s impacting maternal care worldwide, and much more. Now, we’re diving deeper into COVID-19’s impact on girls and young women, specifically. Here are five ways the pandemic is impacting girls globally.

5 things to know about COVID-19’s impact on girls on International Day of the Girl Brandspurng
Photo by Annie Spratt

1. COVID-19’s is threatening girls’ education

Even prior to COVID-19, 90% of children in low-income countries could not read and understand a simple story by the age of 10. Then, by April 2020, pandemic-related school closures affected 91% of enrolled learners (boys and girls) worldwide. For girls, however, these school closures could have more dire effects due to factors such as inaccessibility to remote learning tools, deprioritization of education, and teen pregnancy.

Prior to COVID-19, the past two decades saw the number of girls not enrolled in school drop by 79 million globally. The pandemic is threatening that progress, as it could result in 20 million girls in developing countries potentially being out of school even when this pandemic is over, and many more will have lost out on months of learning.

2. The toll on girls’ unpaid work

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Before COVID-19, women and girls engaged in more unpaid work compared to men and boys. Unpaid work ranges from child care and family care to at-home work like cleaning and cooking. Although varying from country to country, globally, women and girls work three times more at home than their male counterparts.

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Now, as young women and girls are “caring for elderly and ill family members, as well as for siblings who are out of school,” that divide in unpaid girls’ work has and will continue to increase.

3. Higher risks of gender-based violence

The pandemic is putting young women and girls at a higher risk for gender-based violence, child labour, and exploitation due to increased economic stress on families and quarantine measures. Effects of “stay-at-home orders and movement restrictions” are major contributors to this increased risk.

In fact, if the lockdown causes a 20% increase in violence, a year-long lockdown could result in 61 million cases of intimate partner violence.

4. COVID-19 could increase child marriage numbers

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COVID-19 could cause a spike in child marriages as it has “disrupted efforts to stop this practice.” An additional 13 million child marriages could happen within the decade because of it.

5. COVID-19 could cause 2 million avoidable cases of female genital mutilation

The pandemic has severely affected prevention programmes and measures that protect girls from female genital mutilation (FGM). As a result, COVID-19 could result in 2 million avoidable cases of FGM within the next 10 years.

Why raising awareness is necessary

Just reporting the facts is half of the battle — raising awareness and bringing attention to why girls’ empowerment around the world is necessary is the key to making a difference. That’s why, as part of our series exploring COVID-19’s impact on women and girls, we’re also profiling women and girls who are fighting for gender equality and a better future. Stay tuned for more in the series.

Acting today can affect change in future, and investing in and empowering young girls around the world is a big part of making that happen.

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5 things to know about COVID-19’s impact on girls on International Day of the Girl - Brand Spur5 things to know about COVID-19’s impact on girls on International Day of the Girl - Brand Spur
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5 things to know about COVID-19’s impact on girls on International Day of the Girl - Brand Spur5 things to know about COVID-19’s impact on girls on International Day of the Girl - Brand Spur

Latest News

Four 12 Year Old Students To Tackle Hong Kong’s Longest Trail to Raise Funds for The Child Development Centre (CDC) for Children with Special...

HONG KONG SAR - Media OutReach - 9 March 2021 - From 27 to 29 March 2021, four secondary school students will challenge themselves to complete the longest trail in Hong Kong - the 100km MacLehose trail. Their aim is to raise essential funds for The Child Development Centre (CDC), a non-profit organisation that supports children with special educational needs. Please support and donate to this cause at https://www.simplygiving.com/100km-hike-for-special-needs

5 things to know about COVID-19’s impact on girls on International Day of the Girl - Brand Spur 5 things to know about COVID-19’s impact on girls on International Day of the Girl - Brand Spur


Jack, Jaden, Gabriel, and Martin are year-12 students at an international school in Hong Kong. The hike they will complete is not only daunting in length, but also challenging due to the elevation of 5,053 metres. The students chose the CDC as the sole beneficiary as Jack's younger sister previously attended an early intervention programme there. "This organisation (the CDC) is very close to Jack's heart, as he has a younger sister with Down's Syndrome, and understands the difficulties that families face when raising and educating special needs children to reach their full potential, which is something that every child deserves.

"Money donated to the CDC will go towards programme and service expenses, allowing them to aid even more families, and provide even better care with their top notch teaching specialists and therapists. Furthermore, it is no doubt that under the current COVID-19 pandemic, non-profit organisations like this will be impacted the most, so any money donated will be especially helpful now more than ever. We would really appreciate your support on our journey and cause!"

Dr. Yvonne Becher, the Chief Executive of the CDC, expressed her gratitude to the students for organising this meaningful event, "we are grateful for Jack's and his team's initiative, and are glad that the CDC's work is being recognised and has created such positive value to families throughout the years. Hope everyone can also feel the love and faith that Jack has for his sister, and spread the positive energy to many other children with additional needs in our society."

5 things to know about COVID-19’s impact on girls on International Day of the Girl - Brand Spur 5 things to know about COVID-19’s impact on girls on International Day of the Girl - Brand Spur


Based on each child's needs, the CDC's multidisciplinary team offers services such as assessments, early intervention programmes, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and targeted support programmes addressing social skills, sensory processing, attention, behaviour, early literacy and numeracy, and more. The CDC is also committed to supporting parents and professionals through counselling services, outreach screening, and child development training.


This press release is distributed by The Child Development Centre and supported by Media OutReach Newswire

About The Child Development Centre:

Igniting Learning Journeys - One Child at a Time

The Child Development Centre (CDC) is a non-profit education, assessment and therapy provider for children of early childhood age (0 - 8) with a wide spectrum of additional learning or developmental needs. We envision that every child will succeed in their unique learning journey and are missioned to provide quality learning experiences for the individual child and empower their families. The CDC is one of only two government-supported Early Education and Training Centres (EETCs) in Hong Kong which provide programmes and services in both English and Chinese, serving more than 400 children per year.

Address: 4/F, Prime Mansion, 183-187 Johnston Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

T 3462 2875 | F 2849 6900 | www.cdchk.org

5 things to know about COVID-19’s impact on girls on International Day of the Girl - Brand Spur
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