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9 in 10 Female Students Report Significant Pandemic Stress


This week, we’re sharing some key findings from a recent report about the challenges high school students experienced during the first 12 months of the pandemic, from April 2020-April 2021. Stay tuned each day this week to learn more about what students told us.

Female students were more likely than their male peers to report moderate or high levels of stress during the early days of the pandemic. In the recent ACT survey, an overwhelming majority of students – 86% – indicated that they experienced moderate or high overall stress levels in the last 30 days.

Challenges were coupled with a high level of stress among students, and some students were more likely than others to experience varying stress levels. For example, 90% of students identifying as female reported moderate or high overall stress levels in the last 30 days, compared with 77% of students who identified as male.

This finding dovetails with other research suggesting that gender inequalities and access to education may have widened during the pandemic. A recent report from The World Bank found that “girls report having taken on the additional care burden to a larger extent than boys, with potential impacts on their learning time.”

ACT continues to work alongside policymakers and partners to support policies addressing gender inequality. Breaking down barriers requires that all students, regardless of gender identification, have equal access to high-quality education and career opportunities.