Vocational Education for Women

Women, more than Men, lack access to financial capital and have limited opportunities to gain education, knowledge, and skills that can lead to economic advancement. Inadequate policy frameworks and inequitable gender norms also often create barriers to Women’ economic advancement.

For a sound financial strategy, it is important to link workforce development and employment strategies with market needs and opportunities. It is recommended that programmes offering vocational training and employment opportunities should include these initiatives to match market requirements and opportunities. This approach not only requires designing a quality training process that builds Women’ technical and soft skills, but also enlists the commitment of employers to hire participants.

Workforce development and employment strategies are critical to helping Women lift themselves and their families out of poverty. Although adolescent Women primarily enter the workforce to support their families financially, studies have shown that they also value mobility, opportunities for friendship, and greater autonomy that may come with employment. Therefore, safe and appropriate employment opportunities can strengthen their economic status, while improving social welfare and future job prospects.

Despite the clear benefits of investing in employment opportunities for Women, the global economic crisis has created serious challenges for youth employment. According to the International Labour Organisation’s 2012 report, the global youth unemployment rate has risen since 2007 and medium-term projections suggest little improvement in the next few years. Further, macroeconomic conditions create particular challenges for adolescent Women, who experience greater rates of unemployment compared to boys in nearly every region of the world.

Given these challenges, vocational training can play a key role in helping Women get jobs. Vocational training typically includes development of technical capacity, entrepreneurship, and business skills. Ideally, vocational training is demand-oriented and builds specific skills tailored to prospective employers’ needs. Other vocational training programmes help Women build a wide set of soft skills, such as conflict resolution, team building, and communication, which they can use in a variety of jobs. While soft skills may complement demand-oriented training, research demonstrates that the success of vocational training depends primarily on programmes’ ability to target and help Women develop the actual technical and business skills needed by employers.

Beyond tailoring vocational training programmes to employers’ needs, evaluations demonstrate the importance of establishing formal commitments from them to hire participants. Research suggests that job placement rates are higher for vocational training programmes that are able to secure hiring commitments from participating firms and other corporate partners than programmes that do not establish these partnerships from the outset.

Women’ economic empowerment not only depends on availability of jobs, but also on protective policy environments and community-based support for their entry into the workplace. Advocates and policymakers must ensure that laws promote gender equality in the workplace and incentivise employers to create girl-friendly work environments.

Skill building, as a process towards getting a job, is something seriously lacking in our education system. While private players do make an effort towards hands-on training, the formal and traditional education system is definitely lacking in this regard.

This deficiency, when coupled with the trouble women in India generally face when looking for a job, spells dire consequences. When the group of women we are talking about hails from economically lower or from rural backgrounds, the problems are endless. For these women, manual labour is still the most easily available work. There is a great need to properly skill this significantly large workforce so that they can become a major part of the economy through desk-oriented jobs

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