Now more than ever, we must continue to overcome gender discrimination by providing girls and women with equal opportunities for education and employment across the globe.
As the COVID-19 global pandemic has shown us in the past two years, women are still systematically disadvantaged from equal life opportunities around the world – especially in the areas of education and employment. The pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on women which has highlighted the importance of attaining women’s equality in all areas of life and society.
Due to poverty, conflict, and social stigma, 129 million girls still remain out of school across the globe. Although the global labour force participation for men is at 75%, the participation rate for women is only at 49%, with some regions maintaining a gender gap of more than 50 percentage points.
At WONDER, we believe that closing the gender gap in education will inspire young women to become the changemakers of their communities. By equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed to reach their full potential, we strive to transform women’s lives and support their economic empowerment.
Mentoring is another process that is integral to WONDER’s mission of achieving equality. Mentoring is an essential way of supporting women in their personal development. By providing a personalized support system with one-to-one mentoring sessions, mentors can help young women reflect on their skills and progress and guide them towards a path of independence and leadership.
Closing the gender gap in Kamalini
This year, WONDER has worked closely with our partner Kamalini in Delhi and Haryana to close the gender gap in education and employment. We supported 76 immigrant women from rural India with basic education and vocational training for skills in textile, hospitality, hairdressing, and IT.
The curriculum aims to support women in a variety of areas of employment through courses ranging from computer applications and garment construction to financial literacy. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic including repeated lockdowns and school closures, 23 of our students at Kamalini also received externally examined accreditations after completing their courses. Our mentoring program in Kamalini has also provided 28 of our students with soft skills and confidence to thrive as leaders in their communities.
Some of our graduates from Kamalini have been able to apply their skills during the COVID-19 pandemic. One student has set up a YouTube channel to promote her services whilst another student has shared tailoring skills with her neighbours. Our students have been able to persevere through the logistical difficulties of the pandemic by applying the vocational skills and essential soft skills that they have learned during their training.
Through vocational training and additional mentoring, WONDER makes sure that young women and girls can become the agents of change in their communities, promoting women’s equality. Empowering local women is the key to inducing sustainable change at the community level and tackling poverty.
Author: Dowon Kim, volunteer at WONDER Foundation