When more women work economies grow. So do societies. Women, however, are a tremendously underused source of human capital.
This is particularly the case in many of the ETF’s partner countries. North Africa and the Middle East region, for example, have some of the lowest female labour force participation rates in the world.
Promoting women’s entrepreneurship, improving access to vocational education and training, finance, and policy support tools are all part of the solution. The road ahead is long and challenging, but step-by-step ground is being made.
In Jordan, for example, 50 % of the Zarqa Vocational Training Centre’s new retail sector course graduates in 2015 who sought work and found it. Many are women. Watch the ETF film here.
The course is part of the European Union funded Governance for Employability in the Mediterranean (GEMM) initiative.
The success is that it was developed in partnership local employers like dress maker Bassam Jallad, who says the project provides great benefits for the fashion sector, one that requires female workers.
“We can hire these girls (graduates) and train them on how to display the products, show them and maintain them. From our point of view, this is a wonderful thing and we hope to serve the local community.”
Nine local, innovative and action-oriented pilots have been set up through GEMM, which placed a particular focus on youth and women.
GEMM is just one example of how the ETF is working to help empower women through skills, work and society.