COVID-19 poses new risks to girls. What part can Girls Get Equal play in making a safer, more equal world for girls?
Girls Get Equal is the global campaign championing girls’ voice, power and leadership to achieve gender equality. We are demanding equal power, equal freedom and equal representation for girls and young women in all their diversity.
What does this mean in the time of covid-19?
COVID-19 poses new risks to girls and young women. From an increase in domestic violence, the burdens of unpaid work at home, to girls’ unique needs being ignored in the crisis response.
As societies are tested and learn to adapt, it is crucial we, as girls, are part of creating a new, more equal world. Though we can’t currently take to the streets, we can take our activism online and be advocates for gender equality and girls’ rights in digital spaces. We can use this time to prepare for the effects COVID-19 will have on girls’ lives long after lockdown.
As we try to keep active and engaged during lockdown, we can use our individual and collective power to make a difference and keep pushing for gender equality. Here are some suggestions on how to keep fighting for equality in the changing world.
Gender-biases that limit girls’ power are not going to stop – in fact they’ll be exacerbated while society is in crisis.
Worldwide, girls and women take on 3 times as much unpaid work as men. The burdens of caring for family members, cooking and cleaning – while essential during a health outbreak – will undoubtedly fall to girls and women. This reduces our ability to continue in education or skills learning to prepare for leadership roles.
So, how can we encourage boys and families to share the caring responsibilities at home? How can we continue to highlight the discrimination inherent in ‘traditional’ gender roles? How can we keep working towards getting our equal share of power?
Here are some suggestions:
How can girls get equal power?
- Knowledge is power. Read up on and share approved messages from the WHO about COVID-19. Call out any misinformation you see or hear in the media.
- Share awareness-raising social posts about the importance of equal household responsibility.
- Explain the concept of unpaid work to your family members and settle for nothing less than equality in your own home!
- Use this time to upskill. Many organisations are hosting free courses in leadership skills such as public speaking, effective and assertive communication, goal-setting and networking.
- Our voices can be even more powerful when we put them together. Look for other advocates working on the issues you are passionate about and connect online. Exchange knowledge and experiences and see if you can work together.
- Share your skills with others. Take a look at this video by Girls Get Equal advocates Kim and Maya. Do you have a skill you can share in a short video on your social accounts? Now is the time to pay it forward to support other youth activists.
Everyone’s freedom is curtailed in some way right now, but freedom for girls is a digital issue too. Many girls are on lockdown and don’t have access to the internet and we must speak out for them.
Even girls who can access the internet are at risk of threats, harassment and abuse as they try to organise and advocate for equality online. This has to stop if we’re to achieve equal freedom.
How can girls get equal freedom – on and offline?
- Share the most relevant domestic violence helpline number on your social channels to help raise awareness of the increased risks and promote routes to support.
- Educate yourself on the digital gender divide. Support campaigns for equality of access to the internet.
- Share any free resources you can find to help girls learn vital digital skills including website building, photography, photo editing and social media advocacy.
- Report sexist trolls whenever you see them on social media.
We can be the change we want to see in the world. We can help bring an end to sexist stereotypes by becoming content creators and speaking out about the issues faced by girls. We can consume and share work by diverse voices to help bring them to the fore.
How can girls get equal representation?
- Create a playlist of your favourite songs, books, TV shows or films created by girls, women and LGBTIQ+ people. Explain why you love them, how they help dismantle harmful gender norms and why people should spend this time paying attention to diverse voices.
COVID-19 is a global crisis, but we mustn’t forget that people with intersecting identities are hit harder. Always look at your campaign with an intersectional lens – girls’ needs might get sidelined, but it will be worse for girls in refugee camps and LGBTIQ+ people locking down with unsupportive families. Think about ways you can be a positive voice for them.
This is how #GirlsGetEqual
Navigating the COVID-19 crisis requires global solidarity. Girls Get Equal is committed to supporting solidarity among youth activists who continue to lead during this time.
You can stand with girls today by signing their petition calling on governments to educate children in digital literacy to combat false information online.