14.03.2012 - Education Sector

Sexism in skills training and the workplace

©ILO/Crozet M.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is fraught with biases, stereotypes and discriminatory practices. Furthermore, most TVET institutions do not challenge gender bias in skills training but rather perpetuate gender-biased stereotypes

So concluded some 50 TVET experts from 13 different countries in Africa, Asia, the Arab States, Europe and North America, and Latin America who participated in a UNESCO-UNEVOC online conference in December 2011 on eliminating gender barriers in TVET.

“The topic of women and TVET seems to have lost some of its lustre and momentum in developed countries, and is experiencing stagnation in developing countries,” the report notes. “There is a need for revitalization and continuous attention on all levels of discussions, research, developments, and policy decisions”.

While the potential of TVET for the educational, social and occupational empowerment of women is widely recognized, good practice regarding gender and TVET is typically not integrated within overall TVET systems but temporarily financed and confined to certain vocational areas or geographical regions, the report found.

Participants agreed on the need for strong demands for quality standards, instruments and tools for evaluating gender-specific aspects of TVET, and measurements for progress at regular intervals.

They advocated for more female teachers and trainers, improved curriculum development, teaching methods, classroom and workplace atmosphere, and a greater involvement of males in traditionally female TVET fields.

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