Skills for Gender Equality

Women face a number of challenges in accessing and completing quality education and training, and more so in transitioning to decent employment. They are more likely to be in vulnerable employment, such as informal employment and especially unpaid family work. Household, community and care responsibilities often limit their chances of accessing education and training, or of participating in the labour force. Consequently, educational disadvantages accumulate throughout women’s lives. Occupational segregation remains a predominant feature of training and labour markets, limiting women’s choices and confining them to lower-paid and lower-status jobs than men.

Skills development offers a means of broadening occupational choices, but higher shares of women in training occupations do not automatically translate into higher shares of female employment in those fields. While there is evidence of global progress in women’s access to education and training, this overall view obscures the wide discrepancies that exist across and within countries. Efforts to encourage women to participate in education, training and productive employment therefore need to be:
  • properly targeted to the specific contexts and groups;
  • well designed to overcome the range of existing barriers and allow for flexibility in their response to meeting different needs, and;
  • effectively positioned to address questions of status and challenge social perceptions.