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UNESCO-UNEVOC celebrating International Women’s Day

As part of its activities celebrating the International Women’s Day 2017, UNESCO-UNEVOC endeavors to draw the attention of global TVET stakeholders towards this year’s theme “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”. Particularly in the realm of TVET, UNESCO-UNEVOC together with its global network of more than 250 centres across 167 countries, strives to mainstream gender equality in accessing opportunities in education, skills acquisition, and a dynamic labour market.

The global progress in the area of gender equality has been encouraging as unprecedented gains have been made by women in education and training, access to jobs and livelihoods. According to the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, gender gaps in primary schooling have closed in many countries and in 1/3rd of all countries girls now outnumber boys in secondary school, and the global average of female enrollment in secondary level TVET programmes stands at 43%. It must however be noted that while the global averages are encouraging, there is disparate progress between countries with some countries featuring much below the global average. Despite this progress, gaps continue to persist in many areas, especially in the context of women in the changing world of work.

To go beyond the macro-level understanding of the key issues, challenges and trends in the realm of gender equality, UNESCO-UNEVOC also organized a special discussion on this year’s theme of the International Women’s Day on its TVeT Forum. The UNESCO-UNEVOC TVeT Forum is an online discussion board where TVET experts from around the world can share information and knowledge about different aspects of TVET. The purpose of the moderated UNEVOC TVeT Forum discussion was to invite the views of the communities of practice across the UNEVOC network and enable a contextualization of the broader trends and issues through specific examples. These discussions particularly solicited inputs from our network of TVET stakeholders on:

  • What are some of the obstacles to gender equality in TVET in your country?
  • What are some of the obstacles to including women in the labour market in your country?
  • What are some of the promising practices that try to ensure gender equality in TVET?
When considering the changing world of work and the associated inequalities faced by women, it must be noted that most of these inequalities find their roots in the educational and training platforms that prepare women for the world of work, particularly in TVET. In the TVeT forum discussions, some contributors cited the example of Nigeria and Grenada where female enrollments in TVET have been reported to be in excess of 50% and 75%, respectively. These are encouraging trends when viewed from the lens of basic access of women to TVET.

Source: UNWOMEN

However, the oft-cited constraints of access go beyond the notion of enrollment, and are manifested more in the branding of certain training programs and vocational pursuits as feminine with others being less conducive for females to pursue. While infringing upon the right of the women to choose the educational and vocational track they choose to pursue, this approach also contributes to the inequalities in the labor markets. One contribution to the discussion presented the case of India as an example, where women’s choices and decisions about participation in certain TVET programs and jobs are determined by the interaction between prevailing gender and social norms. These pre-existing and deeply embedded norms leave a limited room for women to decide upon their educational and occupational choices especially when viewed in the context of domestic household responsibilities, geographical mobility, and cultural consistency amongst others.

Source: UNWOMEN

Source: UNWOMEN

In addition to the discussions on UNEVOC’s online platforms, UNEVOC Centres across the world also engaged in various activities at their respective institutions. One of the UNEVOC Centres in Nigeria, the Yaba College of Technology, organized a seminar and discussions on “Using ICT as a tool for Women empowerment in a changing world of work’’, whereas Fundacion Paraguaya has collaborated with some institutions in Paraguay to convene discussions and picture competitions to enhance sensitization of relevant stakeholders. Similar activities have been organized by UNEVOC centres in Cameroon, Madagascar and Mongolia amongst others.

Furthermore, this year we have successfully reached out to the global community and our stakeholders through a social media campaign highlighting the key points of action to better enable women to deal with the changing world of work. In the leadup to the International Women’s Day, UNESCO-UNEVOC’s outreach exceeded 2000 impressions on Twitter and more than 11000 views on Facebook. This signifies the interest of TVET stakeholders globally to continue the efforts to make gender equality a priority in their action and advocacies going forward.

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page date 2017-03-09

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