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Ghostly Presences OUT THERE

Transgender Girls and Their Families in the Time of COVID

Sally Campbell Galman

Meet Lily: Hi! I'm Lily. I'm 12 years old and I'm going into junior high school next year. I have curly black hair like my dad and green eyes like my mom. It's been 170 days since school and life and shops and stuff all shut down and my little sister Chloe and I really REALLY want COVID to be over. We play dolls and read and go for walks but I also spend a lot of time online texting and stuff with my friends.

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The Girlhood Project

Pivoting our Model with Girls During COVID-19

Cheryl Weiner, Kathryn Van Demark, Sarah Doyle, Jocelyn Martinez, Fia Walklet, and Amy Rutstein-Riley

Abstract

The Girlhood Project (TGP) is a community based, service-learning/research program that is part of the undergraduate course at Lesley University called “Girlhood, Identity and Girl Culture.” TGP works with community partners to bring middle and high school girls to Lesley's campus for nine weeks as part of intergenerational girls’ groups that are co-facilitated by Lesley students (also referred to as TGP students). TGP fosters the development of feminist leadership, critical consciousness, voice, and community action, and activism in all participants. In this article, we describe how we adapted TGP's model to a virtual and synchronous platform for students during COVID-19 and supported their learning competencies. We reflect critically on this experience by centering the voices and perspectives of girls, students, and professors.

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Jennifer A. Thompson, Sarah L. Fraser, Rocio Macabena Perez, Charlotte Paquette, and Katherine L. Frohlich

Abstract

In this article, we feature photographs and cellphilms produced by 13 girls and young women (aged 13 to 19) from urban, rural, and Indigenous areas of Quebec, Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. Framed within girls’ studies, we present girls’ and young women's creations and co-analysis about wellbeing during a period of lockdown. We explore how girls and young women restructured their routines at home as well as negotiated motivation and the pressure to be productive. We note that girls had more time than usual for creative activities and self-discovery and that they engaged with the politics of the pandemic and advocated for collective forms of wellbeing. Importantly, girls reported that participating in this research improved their wellbeing during this lockdown.

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Girls, Homelessness, and COVID-19

The Urgent Need for Research and Action

Kaitlin Schwan, Erin Dej, and Alicia Versteegh

Abstract

Equitable access to adequate housing has increasingly been recognized as a matter of life and death during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, there has been limited gendered analysis of how COVID-19 has shaped girls’ access to housing. In this article we analyze how the socio-economic exclusion of girls who are homeless is likely to increase during the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. We suggest that three structural inequities will deepen this exclusion: the disproportionate burden of poverty faced by women; the inequitible childcare responsibilities women bear; and the proliferation of violence against women. We argue for the development of a research agenda that can address the structural conditions that foster pathways into homelessness for low-income and marginalized girls in the context of COVID-19 and beyond.

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Intersectional Pandemics in Bangladesh

The Effects of COVID-19 on Girls

Nasrin Siddiqa

Girls and women are the first victims of any calamity, pandemic, or disaster in developing countries like Bangladesh. As it is, they are very often denied health care, are forced to endure child marriage and early motherhood, and are frequently subjected to violence. Given this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic they are now suffering immensely. COVID-19 threatens girls’ rights in countries around the world and will have far-reaching impacts on their health and wellbeing, education, and protection. Self-isolation has increased the rates of gender-based violence. Early marriage and pregnancy are among the drastic effects of school closures and many parents have married off their underage daughters or sold them off to rich families as domestic workers to reduce their economic burden.

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Kokums to the Iskwêsisisak

COVID-19 and Urban Métis Girls and Young Women

Carly Jones, Renée Monchalin, Cheryllee Bourgeois, and Janet Smylie

Abstract

The national COVID-19 pandemic response presents a sharp contrast to the matrilineal social kinship and knowledge exchange systems that Métis women and girls rely on for safety, security, and wellbeing. In this article, we demonstrate that while Métis women and girls have been left out of the national pandemic response, they continue to carry intergenerational healing knowledges that have been passed down from the kokums (grandmas) to the iskwêsisisak (girls). We show how urban Métis girls and women are both managing and tackling COVID-19 through innovative and community-based initiatives like Well Living House and the Call Auntie Hotline.

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Left Behind by COVID-19

Experiences of “Left-Behind” Girls in Rural China

Jue Wang

Abstract

“Left-behind” children in rural China are those whose parents seek work in urban areas and leave them behind in their hometowns. In this article, I focus on the experiences of five young “left-behind” girls who were socially isolated because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the Chinese authorities’ instruction to schools to “Stop classes, but don't stop learning,” I examine micro-level data on the tensions and challenges experienced by these girls during the COVID-19 lockdown. I look at how the pandemic has affected these girls in relation to school and family life and suggest that it has exposed and magnified gender inequalities, particularly those related to the maltreatment exerted by their guardians and/or brothers, that have left them even further behind.

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Claudia Mitchell and Ann Smith

As with Zika, Ebola, HIV and AIDS, and other pandemics in recent history, girls and young women are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 socially and emotionally if not medically. Some observers have referred to the current crisis as a tale of two pandemics in reference to both the obvious health issues and the pervasive gender inequalities that have become exacerbated, and others have referred to it as “the shadow pandemic” (UN Women 2020: n.p.) in highlighting the negative impact that physical distancing and social isolation are having on already vulnerable girls and young women experiencing sex- and gender-based violence. All over the world girls and young women are facing increasing levels of precariousness as a direct result of the health measures being taken to curb the global transmission of COVID-19. The increasing lack of privacy in the home furthers the practice of cultural forms of patriarchy that lead to violence.

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Meghan Bellerose, Maryama Diaw, Jessie Pinchoff, Beth Kangwana, and Karen Austrian

Abstract

COVID-19 containment measures have left adolescent girls in Nairobi, Kenya vulnerable to negative educational, economic, and secondary health outcomes that threaten their safe transitions into adulthood. In June 2020, the Population Council conducted phone-based surveys with 856 girls aged between 10 and 19 in 5 informal settlements who had been surveyed prior to COVID-19 as part of five longitudinal studies. We performed bivariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses to assess the relationship between COVID-19 outcomes and potential protective or risk factors. We found that younger girls are experiencing high levels of food insecurity and difficulty learning from home during school closures, while many older girls face the immediate risk of dropping out of school permanently and have been forgoing needed health services.

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Olga Zdravomyslova and Elena Onegina

Abstract

In this article we analyse ten structured interviews with girls aged 15 to 19 from Moscow and St. Petersburg. We look at how the girls are dealing with the fundamentally new and dangerous situation created by the coronavirus pandemic and note that they are looking for a social and psychological space for themselves in which they can create and experience stability and safety. They are more concerned about security than ever before, while being, at the same time, very sensitive to restrictions on their freedom and agency. Girls’ clear desire for privacy, fuelled by the pandemic's increasingly rapid invasion of their digital space, reinforces their urge towards agency and their understanding of freedom as autonomy.