Promoting gender equality in the context of the global health crisis: an unavoidable need linked to the prevention and elimination of child labor

08 de March de 2021


The economic and social consequences of the COVID-19 health crisis have had a huge impact on low- and middle-income countries, causing more poverty, food insecurity, and exacerbating levels of discrimination, inequality, and gender-based violence in the world. which has a direct impact on families and their income, as well as greater vulnerability to child labor.

Before the pandemic, according to the ILO, it was estimated that 152 million children and adolescents were in child labor in the world, 64 million girls and 88 million boys. 
In Latin America and the Caribbean, there are 10.5 million and, although the figures indicate a greater presence of boys than girls in child labor, studies carried out by the ILO show that girls and adolescents are those who are most exposed to it. perform private, non-commercial and invisible jobs such as domestic work, and often clandestine, that cannot be formally recorded in the statistics (ILO, 2020; ILO, 2017a).

An equal future requires girls and boys free from child labor, who can educate themselves and fully enjoy their rights

Before COVID-19, UN Women highlighted that 32 million girls in the world still did not go to school, and today UNESCO warns that “more than 11 million girls in the world may not go back to school after school. crisis." [1] 

In this framework, it is estimated that the current crisis in both the short and long term affects girls and adolescents much more, because without a basic education they will lose future job opportunities and life prospects, perpetuating the cycle of poverty and exploitation from one generation of women to the next, especially in a region where the majority of single-parent households are headed by women.

In addition, due to the conditions of social exclusion, girls and adolescents have a greater risk of exploitation, mainly for sexual purposes. According to the Global Report on Human Trafficking 2020, by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in Latin America the vast majority of trafficking victims are girls and women: 69% women, 5% girls, 25% men and 1% boys. 

For its part, “in Central America and the Caribbean, the majority of victims detected in 2018 are also girls and women, which is equivalent to 79% of the total victims of trafficking in the subregion. Trafficking in girls, which accounts for 40% of all victims, is one of the largest in the world. " [two] 

The report highlights that traffickers prey on the most vulnerable people, such as migrants and the jobless, so the COVID-19-induced recession could increase the risk for girls and women.

Gender Perspective - Women's Leadership

Within the framework of International Women's Day, the Regional Initiative Latin America and the Caribbean Free of Child Labor (IR) shows its commitment by promoting its Gender Strategy, with the aim of contributing to the achievement of equality as a requirement for development region of. To achieve this, it is necessary to develop specific measures that contribute to alleviating existing inequalities based on gender, which affect all people but are particularly affected by women, adolescents and girls. Thus“It seeks to incorporate the gender perspective as a strategy to achieve equality between the sexes and the empowerment of women, so that both women and men can influence and participate in the development process, and benefit from it, in equal footing. " [3] 

Guaranteeing the rights of women in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic implies integrating the perspectives of women and girls in the formulation and implementation of policies and programs in all areas and stages of the response, as well as in recovery. post pandemic. To have that space in this or other health crises, where women exercise their leadership and promote a more egalitarian world, we must rescue girls and adolescents from child and dangerous labor today.

On this March 8, the IR adds its voice to promote actions in favor of the education of girls and adolescents. Advances in this field will not only affect several generations, but will also contribute to the design of policies and specific actions aimed at preventing, protecting and restoring the rights of children and adolescents for a more egalitarian future.



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