Press release - COVID-19: A huge step backwards for women's rights

Paris15 February 2021. - Aide et ActionThe International Association for Development through Education (IDEA) has drawn up a pessimistic report on the evolution of girls' and women's rights. Thus, at the same time as they are deserting schools, they are increasingly being assigned to the home. This is particularly the case in the least developed countries. If measures are not taken now, the "Next World", which is slow in coming due to the alarming evolution of the pandemic, risks starting with an intolerable regression of their rights.

"All it would take is one crisis... warned Simone de Beauvoir. The crisis is here and the consequences for women have not been long in coming. Indeed, the economic, social and political impacts of the COVID-19 are particularly violent on girls and women around the world. 

Women (who account for 70% of the health workforce)) were immediately more exposed to the virus and to overwork, resulting in additional physical and mental fatigue for them. 

In the context of confinement, women have, in accordance with prevailing social, cultural and ideological norms, mostly taken on the burden of all domestic tasks, particularly those related to childcare and education

With the shutdown of basic services, their access to health care and family planning has been severely hampered, resulting in an increase in unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions, as well as a lack of access to dedicated assistance and support. 

The VCT-19 pandemic has also undermined efforts to combat early marriage. As a result of increased poverty linked to the crisis, 11 million girls, from pre-primary to tertiary education, are at risk of not returning to school and over 13 million of girls, under the age of 18, could be forcibly married between 2020 and 2030. In almost all countries These confinements have also led to an increase in violence against women.

The current crisis is no different from any other social and economic crisis in terms of women's rights. It demonstrates, unfortunately and once again, that nothing can be taken for granted for girls and women and that they remain, in spite of everything, victims of gender stereotypes and male domination that keep them within the four walls of their homes, make them vulnerable to violence and injustice and distance them from emancipatory education.

Vanessa Martin, Head of Advocacy at Aide et Action, insists: "We are working in sensitive areas where girls' access to education was already far from being achieved. With the COVID-19 crisis, which will have a lasting effect on the economies and populations of all countries, the status of women will most likely take a huge step backwards.

Associations and NGOs will have to be extremely vigilant and encourage States to rapidly promote proactive policies in favour of girls' and women's rights. The 8th of March 2021 will therefore be an opportunity to be seized for the construction of the "World After": half of Humanity must be given back the active and civic place that has been taken away from it, within society, for centuries! 

About Aide et Action 

For 40 years, Aide et ActionThe International Association for Development through Education ensures access to quality education for the most vulnerable and marginalised populations, especially children, girls and women, so that they can control their own development and contribute to a more peaceful and sustainable world. 

Because access to quality education helps to fight poverty and disease, limit climate change and build peace in a sustainable world, we promote lifelong learning. We therefore pay particular attention to early childhood care and education, access to and quality of education at primary and secondary levels, and vocational training and social inclusion. 

Based on the values of dignity, inclusion and integrity, as well as on the principles of transparency, accountability and solidarity, and thanks to the support of our 51,000 donors, we are currently running 83 projects in Africa, Asia, Europe - and especially in France - for more than 1.9 million children, young people and adults. 

Press contact

Anne Cassiot, Press/Public Relations Manager
[email protected]
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