Giving Compass' Take:

• Here are five action steps informed by evidence-based practices, that will help the world's most marginalized girls get an education after COVID-19. 

• How does the lack of education for women and girls negatively impact economies? How can donors help support their plight?

• Read about why COVID-19 responses need to cater to women and girls. 

Now, in the face of this pandemic, more than 70 percent of students around the world are still affected by nationwide school closures—or more than 1.26 billion children and youth. While we are just beginning to understand the socioeconomic impact, experiences from Ebola show us that girls will be among the hardest hit.

For many adolescent girls, especially those from low-income countries and the poorest communities, access to education was already a challenge even before COVID-19. A recent UNICEF report shows that nearly one in three adolescent girls from the poorest households around the world have never been to school, and estimates show that only 25 percent of the poorest girls in low-income countries complete primary school. Emergencies exacerbate preexisting inequalities and intensify the existing learning crisis.

Together, this data and lessons learned from our past experience tell us that we’ll need to do more than simply reopen classrooms to make it possible for the poorest and most marginalized girls to return to school.

Drawing on existing evidence, including the “What Works in Girls’ Education” Brookings book, and on-the-ground know-how, we recommend governments and their partners take the following five steps to ensure marginalized girls, alongside boys, can continue their education.

  1. Lift financial barriers that prevent girls from going to school and that are likely to increase as a result of COVID-19 economic impacts.
  2. Scale gender-responsive distance education to reach the most marginalized girls.
  3. Intensify community mobilization and support for girls’ education, including for pregnant girls and those who were out of school before the COVID-19 crisis.
  4. Prioritize girls’ safety and protection.
  5. Ensure meaningful participation for adolescent girls.

Read the full article about helping marginalized girls access education during COVID-19 by Robert Jenkins and Rebecca Winthrop at Brookings.