WEE: Where to start? Education Vs Work Environment

We all want to empower women and boost their economic status, but the question which I think we should answer first is that of the 'chicken and egg'. There is education on one side, where you have to proper educate a women on the ways of being economically stable since way back when she is a little girl by ensuring equality in education. On the other side there is work environment, this is when a young girl can call herself #IAmWoman. On this environment there are issues of gender equality in recruitment and all of the other working conditions i.e salary, leave, other benefits and work-life balance. The question still remains, where does our governments policies start, education or work environment?

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Concepts of WEE
  • Stella Bakibinga

    Education lays a solid foundation for women and therefore institutional intervention must start from that sector.Remember it is education that feeds the world with human resources!

  • Heanneah .S. Farwenee

    Both must coincide because they are interlinked.

  • Women need training rather than education that will give them specific skills that will enable them to work properly and compete fairly with men in all levels of work environment.

  • Olushola John

    I share the same perspective with Stella Bakibinga​, Sabin Muzaffar and Sapna Chopra. Policies have to be strategic and systematic to be effective. They have to cover all aspects of the life of the girl child to adulthood including her worth in the family.  There cannot be sustainable development without education. Basic education (12 years) should at least be made compulsory and enforced by government, then the girl can decide her career path under proper professional guidance and counseling. 

    In terms of employment, Nigeria for example have the Federal Character Act establishing the Federal Character Commission, which allows for equal representation of each state of the Federation (i.e. equal employment opportunity for indigenes of each state through a quota system) in all Government Institutions.

    Government at all levels can enact acts that support gender mainstreaming with proper incentives or penalties for defaulting institutions at all levels.

  • Stella Bakibinga

    Thank you for this insightful topic of discussion. Girls can also say #Iamwoman even while still in school. Did you read Marie Mukakarangwa's story yesterday? She is still in school yet she has risen against all odds.

    That aside, policies should be put in place to help the girl child right from birth. The socio-cultural issues begin affecting the girl child from the day they are born. This is when some parents give preferential treatment to the boy child at the expense of the girl child. In some some families for example, if there are not enough resources to meet the school requirements, the girl child will suffer more. Policy measures should therefore have a bottom-up approach.

  • Julien Delsarte

    I'll try to extend the conversation. I'm not sure but I believe that girl should at education call herself #IAmWoman. I would say that it is very important to have in mind that girls face stereotypes during childhood and education guidances. For instance, in Belgium, statistics show that girls prefer to be a doctor, a teacher, a social scientist and boys prefer to be an engineer, an IT, a physicist, ... And at university, this cleavage prevails. I think that government should work on education first because it will have an impact on mindset, stereotypes and habits. Boys should have the habit to think that girls can do the same thing than them. And parents and governements should promote equality and let the child chose what (s)he would like to do (like Ken Robinson advises). But clearly, as Sabin and Sapna said, I'm sure that government should work on multi-level and holistic basis. While education must change, business should evolve with trainings and empowerment management (teamwork, etc.) to increase leadership, self-esteem and self-reliance of women.

  • Michel Choto

    I believe educations lays a good and solid foundation for economic empowerment .One cannot talk about economic empowerment without talking about education.Work environment should follow education.

  • Nesreen Salem

    To take this discussion in a different direction: sometimes a girl has to fight for her empowerment in a very tight circle first; namely the home. Many girls are brought up in households where they are told their dreams are capped at a certain level whereas her brother(s)' is unlimited. Her aspirations are only allowed up to a certain point and usually towards one goal: economic aid to the future husband/carer. Hence, many girls find themselves in a position where even contemplating  pursuing a dream job/education is unaffordable. 

    The clipping of a daughter's wings happens too often and usually right under our nose. Media can play a huge role in reeducating households about the infinite benefits of allowing girls to dream and soar as high as they wish because they too have the capability to do so. 

  • Teresa Abila
    In one way or another,government's influence affects everyone from childhood to adulthood either directly or indirectly and they play a critical role in delivering education.Where most governments especially in SubSaharan African have failed in is on skills development and capacity building platforms.They provide class education with no practical sense in it.Our women and men get out of colleges with only theoretical knowledge.With this employers find it hard even to recruit such candidates or when employed, benefits are hard to come by. This has greatly affected the female gender on the negative side. It is important for the governments to partner with different agencies, private sectors, NGOs and relevant stakeholders in initiating programmes that enhance skills and career development besides education and much focus be given to the girl child. Skills will always move the labour market and will determine many factors regarding employment. Thank you.
  • sapna chopra

    The government has to work at both levels simultaneously.. none can be left behind.The policy indeed has to strategic to cover all the facets which would hinder women empowerment

  • Sabin Muzaffar

    I think the solution lies in engaging all stakeholders - policy makers, the government, the public, private sector as well as engaged citizens and women in decision-making positions to work on multiple levels. It is high time all issues are addressed strategically but also simultaneously. It is not just about working conditions at the office, work-life balance, but even before that during the recruitment process - women get left out because of their limitation to traveling especially abroad and/or relocation. Many companies prefer hiring men as issues like accommodation, relocation, travelling abroad do not pose any problems for the male gender. 

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