On 11th October, the international community commemorated the International Day of the Girl Child, under the banner “With her: a skilled Girl Force”.
The challenge for the current generation of girls is that they will be ready to enter a world of work undergoing total transformation due to innovation and automation. There is a large demand for trained qualified workers, but approximately a quarter of young people, mainly girls, are unemployed or do not go to school or receive any type of training. In the next decade, of the one thousand million young people in the labour market, 600 million will be teenage girls, and over 90% of them live in developing countries will work in unregulated or unprotected work, with low or no salary, in which abuse and exploitation is rife.
According to the UNICEF report, girls with the greatest disadvantage are those living in rural areas or with disabilities, and this group has an even lower probability of obtaining decent work. Currently many of them are not developing the capacities that will guarantee them a decent future. 10% of girls of primary school age do not attend. Many more cannot begin secondary education, and need support to develop basic capabilities in reading and maths. Transferable competences, such as self-esteem, problem-solving, teamwork and critical thought, are essential in order to prosper in a labour market in constant change.
However, many schools do not focus on “21st Century Competences”, among them science, technology, engineering and maths. Many girls do not have mentors, professional advice or the training necessary to make the transition between school and work, and those that are entrepreneurs come up against barriers that prevent their access to financial or business training.
The integrated participation of girls in the future labour market requires an examination of gender stereotypes in all professions, and the removal of a large number of systematic barriers that prevent girls from obtaining decent work.
Despite this, 600 million teenage girls in the world have the strength, creativity and energy necessary to respond to the demands from the industrial world. Girls depend on the international community to have access to the education they need. The International day of the Girl Child will this year launch activities to bring together and join up interested parties, in order to highlight the most pressing needs of girls and the opportunities that would enable them to develop skills for employability, and to also promote investment in them.
In order to train girls to be ready, the global community must quickly widen access to inclusive training and education; improve the quality of teaching and learning, taking into account the gender perspective, so that girls can develop basic, transferable, professional skills for life and work; create schools, training programmes, and opportunities for learning that are inclusive and accessible, in order to empower girls with disabilities; change gender stereotypes, social norms and subconscious prejudices, so that girls have the same academic and professional opportunities as boys; and increase the participation of girls in science, technology, engineering and maths.
In addition to creating initiatives that support the transition of girls from school to work, and back the business initiative or offer professional guidance, learning courses or practicals; create large-scale programmes in the public and private sectors to offer girls training and the development of skills adapted to the market; facilitate access to financing and business development for female entrepreneurs; form strategic alliances with governments and private companies that take the role of creative leaders and investors, helping the train girls and integrate them within the world of work.
On the International Day of the Girl Child, we are supporting the future self-employed workers, entrepreneurs, teachers, scientists or engineers of computer programmes, so that they can acquire skills and eliminate any other gender barrier they face, in such a way that all girls may be competent.
Source: Equatorial Guinea Press and Information Office