Women must be fully engaged in Technical and Vocational Education and Training

UNESCO and the UNEVOC network are organizing a workshop on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and Gender Equality on the occasion of International Women’s Day, March 8, 2016.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development envisages a world in which every woman and girl enjoys full gender equality and all legal, social and economic barriers to their empowerment have been removed. To that end gender equality has one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) all to itself. In addition, gender equality cuts across all the goals and their targets. TVET is included under three targets of SDG 4 and also contributes directly to targets under other SDGs such as goal 8 on growth and employment.

Gender equality is essential for the achievement of sustainable development which is not attainable without the full involvement and engagement of women. Women and girls must enjoy equal access to quality education, economic resources and political participation as well as equal opportunities with men and boys for employment, leadership and decision-making at all levels.

Girls still the first to be denied the right to education

However, the UNESCO eAtlas of Gender Inequality in Education shows that girls are still the first to be denied the right to education despite progress made over the past 20 years. TVET systems are often gender-biased, affecting the selection of, access to and participation in specific learning programmes or occupations for both men and women. In turn, this gender division of labour contributes to the perpetuation of gender inequalities at work and in society at large. According to the ILO World Employment Social Outlook 2015 women overall continue to suffer from higher rates of unemployment and lower rates of employment, are less likely to participate in the labour force and face higher risks of vulnerable employment.

In 2015 in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda Member States agreed to scale up investment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, and enhance technical, vocational and tertiary education and training, ensuring equal access for women and girls and encouraging their participation therein.

The workshop brings together representatives of the European Commission, GIZ, IFAD, ILO, OECD, UNESCO, UNESCO/UNEVOC, WHO, NGOs, academia and the private sector. Participants will present a set of case studies on TVET and gender equality from Burundi, India, Peru, the Philippines and Ukraine as well as the work of international organizations in this field. The aim is to create a platform of agencies, sharing knowledge and working together towards making gender equality in and through TVET a reality.