Social Isolation and Disrupted Privacy

Impacts of COVID-19 on Adolescent Girls in Humanitarian Contexts

in Girlhood Studies
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  • 1 George Washington University, USA sbaird@gwu.edu
  • 2 GAGE Jordan sarahalheiwidi97@outlook.com
  • 3 George Washington Unviersity, USA rdutton@gwu.edu
  • 4 University of Cittagong, Bangladesh mituju@gmail.com
  • 5 George Washington University, USA emoakley@gwmail.gwu.edu
  • 6 Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia tassew.woldehanna@gmail.com
  • 7 Overseas Development Institute and GAGE, UK n.jones@odi.org.uk
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Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown has shattered the everyday lives of young people, limiting peer interactions and disrupting privacy, with potential for long-term detrimental impacts. This study uses rapid virtual quantitative and qualitative surveys undertaken from April to July 2020 with over 4,800 adolescents affected by displacement in Bangladesh and Jordan to explore adolescent girls’ experiences of social isolation and lack of privacy. Our mixed-methods findings suggest that the pandemic and policy response has caused sharp restrictions on privacy and substantially limited interactions with peers, with larger impacts on girls, particularly those with disabilities. For girls, digital exclusion exacerbates these gender differences. Given that privacy and peer interactions are paramount during adolescence, age-, gender-, and disability-responsive programming is essential to ensure future wellbeing.

Contributor Notes

Sarah Baird (ORCID: 0000-0001-5363-8559) is an Associate Professor at George Washington University. Email: sbaird@gwu.edu

Sarah Alheiwidi (ORCID: 0000-0002-9193-6773) is a GAGE Jordan qualitative researcher. Email: Sarahalheiwidi97@outlook.com

Rebecca Dutton (ORCID: 0000-0002-1227-4477) is a DrPH student at George Washington University. Email: rdutton@gwu.edu

Khadija Mitu (ORCID: 0000-0001-9301-7589) teaches anthropology at the University of Chittagong. Email: mituju@gmail.com

Erin Oakley (ORCID: 0000-0002-6339-4823) is a Senior Research Assistant at George Washington University. Email: emoakley@gwmail.gwu.edu

Tassew Woldehanna (ORCID: 0000-0002-0658-4188) is Professor of Economics at Addis Ababa University. Email: tassew.woldehanna@gmail.com

Nicola Jones (ORCID: 0000-0002-9164-7947) is a Principal Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute and the Director of GAGE. Email: n.jones@odi.org.uk

Girlhood Studies

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