Workshop on Using the ILO Gender Mainstreaming in TVET in Bangladesh Resource Guide

Female participation in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and employment in Bangladesh is strikingly low. In public TVET institutions, female students make up 9 per cent to 13 per cent of student numbers. In Bangladesh’s workforce, female involvement remains at roughly 25 per cent for women aged 15 – 59. In addition, only about 10 per cent of women who are employed earn wages for their labour.


Competency as the function of knowledge, skills and attitude has been recognized globally as a pivotal stepping block to achieve empowerment of women. Over the last few years there has been an increasing felt need that a training and skills development policy and TVET gender strategy must be emphasized in countries with growing economies such as Bangladesh. Both men and women, if equipped with market-responsive skills, can make a significant contribution to their own well-being and the country’s economy. Many training interventions, however, do not cater for the specific needs of women who are under-represented in formal training programmes and often directed towards typical female occupations. Gender differences in training provision, methodology, training content and transition to labour markets have not been taken into account and the absence of follow up and result-based objectives is not providing the required data for evaluation.

Bangladesh has made some great strides in promoting gender equality in the education sector by managing to close the gender gap in gross and net enrolment ratios in primary and secondary education. However, this success has not been replicated in achieving gender parity at the levels of technical skills development and in particular the TVET sector. Bangladesh’s TVET sector is characterized by gender inequalities and stereotyping, reinforcing gender division of labour in occupational segregation in the labour market which is a constraint for women to enter into new, non-traditional and higher income professions. Girls and boys are channeled into different paths, usually resulting in different outcomes and in particular different earnings. The social mindset of families and girls’/women’s own views need to be changed, to remove gender disparities in access to opportunities at receiving training in diversified skills so that the life status of both women and men is enhanced.

The National Skills Development Policy for Bangladesh clearly states that “given the current low participation rates of women in skills development, special efforts are necessary to correct this gender imbalance, particularly in the formal training system”. In response to this, the Government of Bangladesh, supported by the ILO TVET Reform Project, formulated the National Strategy for the Promotion of Gender Equality in TVET in Bangladesh earlier this year. This is the first time that an initiative to increase female participation in skills development programmes in Bangladesh has been taken. The goal of the strategy is to increase female enrollment, female management, female teaching and female support staff in technical and vocational training institutes.

In order to ensure that the proposed actions in the strategy are effectively implemented, a Resource Guide on Gender Mainstreaming in TVET in Bangladesh has been developed. In partnership with the Government of Bangladesh and the National Coordination Committee for Worker’s Education (NCCWE), the ILO TVET Reform Project will train an initial pool of 25 Gender Facilitators to use this resource guide. Participants include staff from public and private TVET institutions, Bangladesh Employers Federation, NCCWE and non-governmental organizations.


The workshop aims to:
  • Equip Gender Facilitators with the skills to use the Resource Guide in their respective organizations.
  • Increase understanding of the benefits of promoting gender equality in the skills development system, and the economic and social benefits of opening up pathways to skilled work for women in Bangladesh. 
  • Ensure that a wide range of stakeholders take steps to address gender inequality and gender stereotyping in the education, training and employment sectors in Bangladesh.