CINOP assists UNESCO UNEVOC in study on gender equality in STEM related fields in TVET

21 January 2020

CINOP assists UNESCO UNEVOC in conducting an explorative study to obtain data and practices related to gender equality in STEM related (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). The focus of this study is to understand what data currently exists that can help us to understand challenges of gender equality in these technical fields of study as well as in STEM careers. To do so, CINOP contributes by gathering specific information about the status of gender equality in STEM related TVET in the Netherlands. Next to this, CINOP draws case studies on international initiatives that are considered to be ‘best practices’ in stimulating the participation and performance of girls and women in STEM related TVET programmes and their transition to the job market.

Why do we need to understand the causes of gender disparities in STEM-related TVET

Worldwide, many initiatives have been launched in the last years to increase the participation of girls and women in both TVET and within the labour market. These initiatives range from gender awareness training for teachers to national campaigns and the use of female role models in primary and secondary education. Their overlapping goal: to contribute to gender equality in education and the labour market.

TVET truly has the potential to bolster the participation of women in the labour market, contributing to equity by enabling girls and women to obtain necessary skills to access the labour market and thereby obtaining a livelihood. However, equal participation differs greatly for per study programme. Girls and women tend to be under-represented in the fields that require science, technology, engineering and mathematic (STEM) skills and knowledge. This in spite of the fact that these are the exact fields that bring important job and wage opportunities both now and in the future. Participation of girls and women in STEM fields of study as well as occupational areas are therefore of utmost important to reach gender equality.

One example of a Best Practice: Gender awareness training for TVET teachers in Mozambique

CINOP considers its Gender Awareness Training for TVET teachers in Mozambique a ‘best practice’ to stimulate the participation and performance of girls and women in STEM related TVET programmes. Together with the Instituto Superior Dom Bosco in Mozambique, CINOP works on strengthening the pedagogical and technical skills of teachers in trades like mechanical and technical engineering. One module in the complete training course is on ‘gender awareness and social inclusion’. Teachers learn to understand the meaning of gender, how roles are ascribed to male and female students and the impact this can have on these students. They investigate the specific (in)equality issues their students and teachers themselves need to deal with. Raising awareness is the first necessary step that underlies how a safe and conducive learning environment can be created. For the STEM-related topics, CINOP focusses specifically on the teaching of technical know-how to girls and women. Ensuring they are able to study together, stimulate each other, and receive extra training if necessary.

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