Assessing the Damage : Early Evidence on Impacts of the COVID-19 Crisis on Girls and Women in Africa (April 2022)


At the onset of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there was global concern about the negative indirect impacts the crisis would have on girls and women and their human capital. Two years into the crisis, this brief summarizes the evidence to date on how the prediction of a shadow crisis has played out in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).The brief is intended as a call to action for policymakers, since available research sets off multiple alarm bells. It also proposes urgent policy responses. Evidence to date confirms that the COVID-19 crisis has had profound negative impacts on the education, health, employment and empowerment of girls and women including in SSA. Available data is still limited, but what is known to date suggests that we are seeing the tip of an iceberg. Many impacts will have long term repercussions for girls’ and women’s human capital. Decision makers are at a pivotal moment to invest now in women and girls, to neutralize immediate but also prolonged costs to individuals, societies and economies.