Globally, gender inequalities persist across health, social, and economic systems and compromise sexual and reproductive health, economic development, and overall population health and development. Gaps in women’s educational opportunities and gender stratification of the work force perpetuate gendered economic disparities. Gender norms can constrain women’s agency and mobility and foster gender-based violence. Taken together, these gender inequities have critical implications for health, safety, economic stability, and autonomy - and represent actionable targets for change.
COVID-19 & PMA Gender: Spotlight on Youth and Young Adults in Nairobi, Kenya
Gender inequalities can be exacerbated in emergencies such as the COVID-19 outbreak.
Despite growing demand, limited data exist on the gendered impact of COVID-19, particularly for youth and young adults who are undergoing life transitions that have been uniquely impacted by this pandemic.
In 2019, as part of the PMA Agile platform, unmarried adolescents and young adults in Nairobi, Kenya were recruited via respondent-driven sampling for participation in a baseline survey focused on contraceptive use. This existing cohort provided an opportunity to track changes in contraceptive use over time and address key questions on the gendered impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 follow-up survey addresses 1) contraceptive changes since baseline, including those related to COVID-19, and 2) the gendered impact of COVID-19. Qualitative data collection included focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with youth and key stakeholders. A six-month follow-up survey in early 2021 will continue to track impact, and a text-message based mini-survey tracks a limited set of outcomes over the intervening period.
Results will be provided to local governments to produce actionable information and guide the public health response to COVID-19. Further analyses will incorporate baseline survey data with COVID-19 measures captured at follow-up.
This study provides insight on the gendered social, economic, and safety implications of COVID-19 among adolescents and young adults in Nairobi, Kenya. Topics include:
- Gender differences in COVID-19 risk perception and preventive behavior
- Disruptions to health care, including sexual and reproductive health and menstrual hygiene during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Gender-based violence and safety in the COVID-19 era
- Transactional partnerships and sex trade in the COVID-19 era
- Economic and time-use impacts of COVID-19
- Gender differences in mobility, privacy, and decisional autonomy in the COVID-19 era
- Mental health among youth during COVID-19 pandemic
- Contraceptive use dynamics and sexual and reproductive health care since 2019
- Contraceptive autonomy and changes since 2019
This study brings together a collaborative team of experts across multiple disciplines, including gender equality, economic empowerment, gender-based violence, economic and social autonomy, adolescent health, and sexual and reproductive health: Johns Hopkins University, Kenyatta University Women’s Economic Empowerment Hub, and International Center for Reproductive Health Kenya. Our survey tools include gender equality and empowerment measures from the EMERGE Repository (Evidence-based Measures of Empowerment for Research on Gender Equality).
PMA participated in the symposium COVID-19 & Beyond: Accelerating the use of evidence to maximize opportunities to improve the health & livelihood of AY in Kenya. View the symposium recordings:
View Survey Results Summary