Many children are affected by child labor

Corona pandemic Child labor: Girls are particularly affected

Girls are particularly disadvantaged when it comes to access to education. The corona pandemic could exacerbate this situation. Experience shows that children often do not return to school after a crisis.

152 million children and young people under the age of 17 still have to work around the world, almost half of them under exploitative and unhealthy working conditions. Many of these children are prevented from attending school regularly due to their work. Instead of being able to exercise their right to education and training for their future lives, they toil in agriculture, mining or quarries, in households, in shoe production, in slaughterhouses and other businesses. As figures from the International Labor Organization (ILO) show, boys are numerically more affected by child labor than girls. 88 million boys and 64 million girls have to work around the world. However, girls experience specific disadvantages when it comes to access to education.

Girls disadvantaged in access to education

Tradition, poverty, poorly equipped schools and a lack of health care are the causes of disadvantages for girls. If help is needed in the family's yard, with household chores, looking after the toddlers or with the informal work of the parents, girls are often scheduled first and kept away from class. Contrary to current laws, genital cutting of girls and early marriages of underage girls are still far too common. Because of the lack of water supply and sanitary facilities for girls in schools, they usually stay away from class during their menstruation.

This not only leads to gaps in the subject matter, it is also often the beginning of a permanent absence from class. These girls then leave school with no chance of a school leaving certificate or vocational training. The GEW draws attention to the special situation of girls with a flyer that can be ordered free of charge.

Corona pandemic increases child labor

The corona pandemic is worsening the income situation of many families in the Global South. Poverty continues to grow. Experience shows that children often do not return to school after a crisis. They have to keep working to support their families in need. With the loss of income, poor families have even less chance of paying school fees when schools reopen. Therefore, an increase in child labor is to be feared rather than a decrease if effective measures are not taken in the affected countries.

Projects against child labor and for good education

The GEW is committed to fighting child labor through the Fair Childhood Foundation. Together with the Education International and partner unions in poorer countries, it carries out projects to raise awareness of the importance of school education and to create child labor-free zones. In schools, teachers supervise action groups of pupils against child labor and help parents in village communities who need support.

Subjects such as children's rights, health care and sex education for boys and girls are included in the curriculum. The success of the projects is also due to the fact that children and young people find the lessons more interesting and useful than before. Union projects against child labor make an important contribution to combating child labor and increasing educational opportunities, especially for girls - a task that will remain urgent in view of the consequences of the Corona crisis.