Gender VSD

Gender VSD

​Women are still more likely to be disadvantaged when it comes to access to employment and income. Targeted promotion of vocational skills can increase their chances of taking part effectively in the job market. This calls for vocational skills development options that are specifically designed to meet women's needs and are geared to gender equality.

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Women are disproportionately affected by unemployment. One reason for this is that they tend to have a lower level of education than men. Improved access to education and the acquisition of skills that pave the way to an income-generating occupation therefore play a key role in the reduction of global poverty.

Current challenges

One of the most predominant and persisting aspects of employment is the segregation of jobs according to gender. Yet this discrimination begins long before entering the working world. Role models are imposed in early childhood and youth, with the associated impact on educational opportunities. The underlying reasons for this are the traditional division of roles within the family, gender-specific rights and obligations, and gender-specific access to resources. Therefore, when developing training offers, this wider social context must also be taken into account alongside the numerous aspects of the economy and the labour market.

The SDC focus

Gender equality is one of the key priorities in all SDC's activities. When developing programmes for vocational skills development, SDC therefore ensures that gender perspectives are taken into account from the outset. The specific aims include:

    • Equal access to education. SDC sees to it that educational options are directed equally at women as well as men. It takes appropriate steps to ensure that women are not excluded from participation due to gender-specific divisions of labour. This means, for example, that the additional tasks traditionally performed by women (child-rearing, household chores etc.) are taken into consideration in a project planning process.
    • Inclusion of all formal and informal employment opportunities. When developing its programmes, SDC endeavours to ensure a comprehensive assessment of the job market, including in particular employment opportunities in the informal sector, where women play an important role.
    • Addressing market demands. One of the biggest challenges in this context is to bridge the gap between the skills of employees, particularly of women, and requirements of the job market.
    • Focusing on typical womens economies and women jobs. Traditional VET/VSD programmes had a blind eye in this regard and have been focusing on industrial and technical professions which are traditionally executed by men. The programmes then tried to "womanizing" these traditional male jobs. Since this has never been working - not even in Switzerland - SDC today is following a much more focused approach on womens jobs.
Key facts
• 210 million people around the world are unemployed, predominantly women and young people.
• Besides the formal labour market, more and more people work under precarious conditions in informal jobs.
• Halving juvenile unemployment could increase the global gross national product by at least USD 2.2 billion.



SDC Webpage on Gender and VSD
ILO Gender and Development
UNESCO-UNEVOC Gender Issues and TVET
SDC-Gender Equality Network
SDC Gender Toolkit

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