Now Vanesa will have to keep an eye on her work, and of her eight-year-old son is taking his classes and doing his homework. Returning to school from home could represent a setback in gender equality since adolescents and women could see their personal development affected by having to stay to care for the children, experts warned. "Everything comes together, preparing breakfast, washing, doing chores, supervising homework, and by the end of the day, it gets worse. I'm going to go crazy with so much," she says for La Cadera de Eva.

Giving up your professional life was "before."

Until a few years ago, it was common for older sisters to help the family take care of their siblings or for women to give up their professional dreams to care for their children. Although there are advances in gender equality for women to develop and men to take responsibility for this type of task, the covid-19 pandemic and the new modality in which children will study open the door to a reversal in this topic. The Secretary of Public Education announced Monday that children would return to classes on August 24, but due to covid-19, classes will be at home, through television and radio. In many cases, families will face the problem of who cares for children while one or both parents have to go out to work, taking into account that not everyone can work from home.

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Possible risk of dropping out of school

"We anticipate the risk of female students who will drop out or will not continue their studies. Especially teenagers, because they will be forced by the macho culture to remain in charge of housekeeping and others, they will not study. We already had an enormous shift. Every year we lose 25% of adolescents who do not continue in the educational system and are mainly women, "warned Juan Martín Pérez, director of the Network for the Rights of Children in Mexico (Redim).

However, adolescent daughters are not the only sector of the population that could see their development slowed, also mothers, because they are at risk of leaving their job or having a more significant load of activities.

Older siblings have also burdened home care, says Alicia, a woman over 60, for La Cadera de Eva, and the grandmothers have been displaced. "Whether you like it or not, grandchildren always inject us with energy."

"The other important part is what happens to the mothers if there are two people in charge of taking care of their sons and daughters, and someone has to go out to work. Generally, the woman will have to stay at home because the salary is not three times higher than that of the man.

This means the possibilities of their professional development, are curtailed, but that work overloads for women also continue to increase," said Wendy Figueroa, director of the National Network of Refugees.

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Lack of gender vision to return to class

Both specialists agree there was a lack of a comprehensive vision that would include this type of problem in the project of returning to school. Work-life is going to reconcile with family, and education was left aside.

Caring for children is not a simple thing if both parents work; the situation is who will take care of them. Leaving them in charge of another person also represents a danger to their integrity because they may be exposed to violence.

"I was listening to a statement from the Secretary of Public Education (Esteban Moctezuma), who said that this is an excellent opportunity between parents and children to live together. In an ideal world, but Mexico, we return to an idea of a country that is not grounded in reality, and that tells you about our country's ignorance.

Working from home is a privilege

How many people have the possibility of working at home? Because it is also a privilege for men and women," Figueroa highlighted.

The director of the National Network of Refugees recalled that confinement violence against children has increased. It's also used as a method of punishment, so it would be advisable for the SEP to follow up on the minors' situation during quarantine to prevent them from suffering emotional, physical, and sexual violence.

To improve healthy coexistence at home, Figueroa recommends that families have respectful communication. Take time to do their activities, decide which ones they will do as a family, do physical exercises, distribute household chores equitably, and promote self-care.

Traducción: Valentina K. Yanes