Skill Development Boosts Women Empowerment
Investing in skill and education for women and men leads economies to achieve dynamic growth with a strong skilled workforce.
Photo Credit : istockphoto.com,
From the increasing media reports on sexual assaults to alarming statistics highlighting the fact that 33% of women population is illiterate, women’s empowerment in India is a crucial national issue. Considering its neighbouring countries in South Asia, female working population rate (WPR) is one area in which India is lagging. Women participation in the Indian labour force is 31.8%, whereas male WPR stands at 73.2%. While north-eastern India has performed well on female WPR, the situation is worrisome in states such as Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, with WPR as low as 9%. According to a Mckinsey Global Institute study, India could boost its GDP by $2.9 trillion by 2025, if female workforce participation rate is increased by 10%, which is equivalent to bringing 68 million more women into the non-agriculture labour force.
Recognizing India´s massive need to skill millions of formal and informal workers in the next coming years, the government has developed an ambitious plan of increasing the ratio of formal and informal skilled workers in its total workforce by 2022 from a mere 2% now to 50%, thus creating a strong resource pool of 500 million. Women form a significant proportion of this work force; however, they are largely concentrated in the informal sector, engaged in vocations characterized by low earning, poor working conditions, low productivity and lack of social protection. Taking serious note of this dire situation, there are various campaigns initiated by government, who has joined hands with private organizations, declaring it as a national priority. Here, provision of modern skill training programmes and increasing their accessibility and availability may substantially help in enhancing the productivity of the women workforce.
Low social value to girl education and skill development
There are gender specific roles defined for women in our country - primarily household chores and child rearing. One of the main reason for this divide is the low social value which is attached to girl´s education. In our traditional patriarch society, women are considered secondary income earners, and hence lower importance is given to skilling and training of girls for employment.
Women skill training institutes and programmes: Gender sensitive training
Women face complex ground realities, including discriminatory social customs and traditions, low levels of literacy, limited hours available for training and work, and limited exposure to new technology. Hence, institutes need to make the skill development process flexible and accommodating to encourage women to enrol. The training should incorporate teaching of basic skills such as communication, English, mathematical aptitude, critical thinking, learning agility, interpersonal skills, adaptability, problem solving and other deeply impacting skill such as behavioural skills, building self-esteem, team work, self-organizational and negotiating capacity for employment purposes. Issues pertaining to identity, autonomy, leadership, rights and responsibilities, entrepreneurial and business management skills, increasing awareness on gender are relevant for women as well, and should be given equal emphasis as to men. Moreover, to make training programmes truly accessible to women, it is crucial to provide additional basic amenities and facilities such as safe and secure transport, toilets, etc. These trainings are important for rural women because they provide options for better livelihoods. Learning a new skill will help women to not only become financially independent, but also significantly develop their confidence and build their esteem, especially in the eyes of their families and society.
Furthermore, sectors that women can seek training include Retail, Garment & Apparel, IT, Banking, Teaching & Counselling and also as FORK LIFT Operators and Drivers.
Investing in skill and education for women and men leads economies to achieve dynamic growth with a strong skilled workforce. These are basic facilities and services, which should form an integral part of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of skill training and development at institutes. The key strategy for women’s empowerment and promote gender equality is to combine policies and skill development institutions at the local level. Education and skill development is the most significant instrument of individual self-realisation, and is an absolute necessity to boost women empowerment today.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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