Girls’ and Boys’ Voices on the Gendered Experience of Learning during COVID-19 in Countries Affected by Displacement
This paper presents research on girls’ and boys’ gendered perceptions of their learning during COVID-19-related school closures. The research was conducted in ten countries affected by displacement across Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. We applied statistical analysis using multivariate logistic regression models from the results of a survey conducted with parents or caregivers and their children. We complemented the quantitative study with qualitative methodology, which provided a nuanced understanding of girls’ and boys’ perceptions of their learning and the concerns they voiced during the school closures. Our results show that the children in displaced settings are likely to perceive a decline in learning during the pandemic, and that the factors influencing this perception differ between boys and girls. Girls’ perceptions of learning “nothing” or only “a little bit” were more strongly associated with material barriers, such as limited access to learning materials and household economic circumstances, than was the case for boys. The boys’ experience of learning “a little bit” or “nothing” was more strongly associated with increased negative feelings, including feeling sad or worried, increased violence in the home, and increased responsibility for looking after siblings or other children. This research notes the importance of supporting displaced children by providing adequate resources to enable equitable access to learning, and calls for cross-sectoral programming to support displaced children who are dealing with emotional pressure.