Girls and young women aged between 14 and 24 are taking responsibility for the majority of household chores during the pandemic, leaving them less time to focus on their education, according to a new survey.
Sixty-six percent of girls and women aged between 14 and 24 said they are spending more time cooking for their families as a result of the pandemic, compared with 31% of boys and men in the same age group.
Women and girls are also spending more time cleaning (69%, compared with 58% of boys and men), shopping (52%, compared with 49%), and looking after siblings (28%, compared with 16%), according to a survey of 1,000 men and women aged 14-30 produced by a market research agency for the children’s charity Theirworld.
“There are reports that women’s equality could be pushed back by up to 10 years by the pandemic and this is a stark reminder that the fight for gender equality is ongoing,” said Sarah Brown, the chair of Theirworld.
“The findings from this study show that when girls are locked out of school they can easily become trapped in traditional household roles which can put their education in jeopardy.”
The research also suggested that not attending school is taking its toll on mental health. One in five girls said they were struggling, while 46% described access to quality education as a source of current concern.
Theirworld is calling for governments around the world to put education, especially for girls, at the heart of their responses to the pandemic by expanding budgets for schools, colleges and universities.
“There is no better way of creating a more equitable recovery, and subsequently more equal societies, than prioritising girls’ education,” said Justin van Fleet, the president of Theirworld.
A recent survey published by the Office for National Statistics suggested that women were also shouldering the burden of home schooling, with 67% of women taking the lead compared with 52% of men. Half of the survey’s 16- to 18-year-old respondents also said that home schooling was having a damaging effect on their mental health.
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