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Gender Equality and Youth Employment: Reflections on Arab States

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1 Gender Equality and Youth Employment: Reflections on Arab States
UNDP/UNDESA Sub-Regional Workshop Youth Policies and Strategies in the Context of MDGs Sana’a, Yemen, June 22-23, 2005 Starting from a low level, female labor force participation in MENA has grown by 50% since 1960.

2 Outline Gender Equality, MDGs and Youth Global and Regional Trends
Trends and Indicators in MENA Good Practices Next Steps

3 Defining Gender Equality
Gender equality is defined as women having the same opportunities in life as men in three domains: Capabilities (health, education, nutrition) Access to resources and opportunities economic assets (such as land or housing) resources (such as income and employment) Political opportunity (representation in leadership) Security domain (reduced vulnerability to violence and conflict) Women are entering the global labour force in record numbers, but they still face higher unemployment rates and lower wages and represent 60 per cent of the world's 550 million working poor, The capabilities domain, which refers to basic human abilities as measured by education, health, and nutrition. These capabilities are fundamental to individual well-being and are the means through which individuals access other forms of well-being. • The access to resources and opportunities domain, which refers primarily to equality in the opportunity to use or apply basic capabilities through access to economic assets (such as land or housing) and resources (such as income and employment), as well as political opportunity (such as representation in parliaments and other political bodies). Without access to resources and opportunities, both political and economic, women will be unable to employ their capabilities for their well-being and that of their families, communities, and societies. • The security domain, which is defined to mean reduced vulnerability to violence and conflict. Violence and conflict result in physical and psychological harm and lessen the ability of individuals, households, and communities to fulfill their potential. Violence directed specifically at women and girls often aims at keeping them in “their place” through fear.

4 Empowerment Agency or the ability to use those rights, capabilities, resources, and opportunities to make strategic choices and decisions To exercise agency, they must live without the fear of coercion and violence Especially relevant for young women considering age and gender hierarchies

5 MDG Goal 3 Indicators • The ratio of girls to boys enrolled in primary and secondary education • The ratio of literate females to males among 15 to 24 year olds • The share of women in wage employment in the nonagricultural sector • The proportion of seats held by women in national parliaments

6 Strategic Priorities for Goal 3 of MDGs
1. Strengthen opportunities for post primary education for girls while simultaneously meeting commitments to universal primary education 2. Guarantee reproductive health and rights 3. Invest in infrastructure to reduce women’s and girls’ time burdens 4. Guarantee women’s and girls’ property and inheritance rights 5. Eliminate gender inequality in employment by decreasing women’s reliance on informal employment, closing gender gaps in earnings, and reducing occupational segregation 6. Increase women’s share of seats in national parliaments and local Governmental bodies 7. Combat violence against girls and women 1. Strengthen opportunities for postprimary simultaneously meeting commitments to universal 2. Guarantee sexual and reproductive health and 3. Invest in infrastructure to reduce women’s and 4. Guarantee women’s and girls’ property and inheritance 5. Eliminate gender inequality in employment by reliance on informal employment, closing gender reducing occupational segregation. 6. Increase women’s share of seats in national parliaments governmental bodies. 7. Combat violence against girls and women.

7 Proposed Indicators by Task Force
Education • The ratio of female to male gross enrollment rates in primary, secondary, and tertiary education • The ratio of female to male completion rates in primary, secondary, and tertiary education Reproductive health and rights • Proportion of contraceptive demand satisfied • Adolescent fertility rate Infrastructure • Hours per day (or year) women and men spend fetching water and collecting fuel Property rights • Land ownership by male, female, or jointly held • Housing title, disaggregated by male, female, or jointly held Employment • Share of women in employment, both wage and self-employment, by type • Gender gaps in earnings in wage and self-employment Participation in national parliaments and local government bodies • Percentage of seats held by women in national parliament • Percentage of seats held by women in local government bodies Violence against women • Prevalence of domestic violence

8 Global and Regional Trends
Gender Equality & Youth Employment

9 Gender & Youth Unemployment
Globally, 35.8 million young women (15-24) are involuntarily without work In all regions (except EA and SSA) young women’s unemployment rates are higher than young men’s Female unemployment rate of 16.5% was 5.9% points higher than the male rate of 10.6 % in 2003 in MENA Unemployment for young women in MENA countries ranges from 13% in Bahrain to almost 39% in Algeria Unemployed women are mainly young new labor force entrants (with primary & secondary education), and laid off workers following restructuring and privatization - in Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt The pressure of young workers on labor force growth has been persistently high in MENA. Six in 10 people in the region are below age 25. The period will witness the greatest labor force pressures from young male and female workers. Rising female labor participation since the 1980s, constitutes one of the most important developments affecting the size and gender composition of the region’s labor supply. Not only are young men and women entering labor markets in greater numbers but they are also increasingly more education. In East Asia, this turned out to be demographic gift and not a demographic burden which helped accelerate economic growth. Unemployment in MENA is concentrated among youth whose unemployment rates range from 37% of total unemployment to 73 percent in Syria with a simple average of 53% for all countries for which data are available. There is a gender dimension to the profile of unemployment where unemployment rats for the region as a whole are nearly 50% higher for women than for men. Source: ILO Global Employment Trends, 2004; ERF, 2000.

10 Fertility & Employment Link
Lower fertility rates & increased employment of women is likely to go hand in hand freeing their time from the care economy In MENA, fertility rates remained relatively high in 2000 at 3.6 % and the female labor force participation is the lowest of all regions at 27.9 % What are employment to population rations: they indicate the capacity of economies to create employment opportunities for their population. The higher employment to population ratio is, the more people in the working age population are working. One might argue that not all women of working age want to work, but the simple fact that unemployment exists indicates that there are women who want to work but are unable to find work. And since overall unemployment has been higher for women than for man, it is clear that more employment opportunities need to be created for women to satisfy their willingness to work. In very rich economies one can argue that some women can afford to and chose to not work, but in other regions of the world it is more likely that women would work if there were opportunities for them to do so. Attracting more women into the labor force also requires provision of equal access to education, equal opportunities in gaining the skills necessary to compete in the labor market. Employment to Population Ratio In all regions, employment to population ratios are much smaller for women than for men The difference is highest in MENA where 2/10 working age women work compared to 7/10 men Even if not all women of working age want to work, the fact that there is female unemployment shows that there are women who want to work, but are unable to find work in the region

11 Education & Employment Link
Higher enrollment, completion rates and better quality of education for girls and boys is likely to lead to increased employability MENA countries have moved toward achieving gender equality in primary and secondary education, BUT THE LINK TO JOBS IS MISSING In the past decade MENA governments spent an average of 5.3 % of GDP on education—the highest in the world changing the supply, quality, and profile of the labor force—BUT IT ONLY MARGINALLY TRANSLATED INTO YOUNG WOMEN’S EMPLOYMENT

12 Female to Male Primary Enrollment Ratios, 2000
In Egypt, educated women are more likely to be unemployed than educated men Female to Male Secondary Enrollment Ratios, 2000 In Jordan, educated women, especially graduates of community colleges face high unemployment levels

13 Gender Segregation Across Life Cycle
Women obtain “suitable skills” often via shorter training and informal courses compared to men Separation in training is followed by separation in the workplace/work opportunities creating a vicious cycle Young women and men are concentrated in different types of work and their ‘paths’ to work are different and so likely are the impacts upon them Women who spend time outside the labor market find out that lack of training leads to low quality jobs and low paid work that, in turn, offer little additional training The early attempts to provide vocational training services for youth, faced a number of failures due to: generic, and standardized content, supply driven approach where training is determined by trainers rather than the trainees, too little attention paid to quality of trainers and training methods, insufficient investment in training follow-up which reduces the potential benefit of training, and limited proven impact training of girls in traditional skills with little returns in the labor market

14 Experience with Young Women
Life skills training Health and nutrition Self esteem, confidence, conflict resolution CV, interview, presentation skills Vocational skills training in market niches that are not low return and traditionally women sectors Labour market links Apprenticeship, job placement programs

15 Key Gender Equality Indicators, 2000
Developing regions MENA Female life expectancy 100 %Seats Held by Women in Parliament Reducing Fertility Rate The labor abundant and resource rich countries (like Algeria, Iraq, Syria) have slightly lower rates of female labor force participation than the labor abundant resource poor economies (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia Ratio of girls to boys in primary and secondary education Ratio of Women to Men in Non Agricultural Wage Employment GDP Per Capita $

16 Public and Private Sector Trends
Public sector jobs were safeguards for women in a number of countries in the region, but with the reform and privatization processes, public sector is no longer the main option for young women out of school Private sector jobs are open to young women, although they come with limited or no job security or benefits. Temporary contracts are common with significant implications for decent work The main source of employment generation has shifted to the private sector and this has adversely affected opportunities for women. Attention to the equality of opportunity and treatment in employment needs to be sustained In most of the region, women have tended to particpate heavily in public sector employment. Reasons include the perception that public service professions such as teaching and nursing are appropriate for women, the public sector’s egalitarian practices in hiring and wage setting and the favorable conditions of work in the public sector including maternity leave benefits. With the share of public sector employment shrinking in many countries, the public sector will not be as important a source of jobs for young women graduates as it was in the past. In the private sector, b y contrast, women have faced significant disadvantages, often working in jobs with low wages and little potential for growth. In Morocco and Tunisia, where manufacturing exports have expanded. They had some success in increasing young womne’s participation in the paid private sector.

17 Employment distribution by sector
Young and adult women have a higher share of agricultural employment in MENA. Most are in the unpaid family worker category of employment Within services, women are still concentrated in sectors that are traditionally associated with gender roles in community, social and personal services Women’s share in industry is low, but jobs in EPZs are filled by young women (textiles, leather, electronics) Young women work in manufacturing, especially in Tunisia, Morocco and Jordan although there is a high incidence of non-regular and non-salaried activity in this sector and a wide gap in earnings In professional services, women are still in “women’s jobs” as teaching, nursing where with good education and training continue to be an employment outlet for young women

18 Reasons for Gender Inequality & Youth Employment Trends in MENA

19 Socio-Cultural Constraints
Young women have more limited access to labor market relevant capabilities (skills, knowledge, self-esteem, confidence) Across the life cycle women have more limited access to productive resources (land, capital, livestock) compared to their male counterparts There is a male-bread winner bias in the labor market despite the pressing economic realities in poor households which require more than one income There are continued mobility constraints on young women and women in general in many communities in the region (some due to security concerns in countries facing conflict like Iraq and Palestine) Young women face employer and lender biases and are overrepresented among unpaid family workers, part time, low wage earners, unemployed & inactive Early marriage and child bearing and rearing can also inhibit young women’s integration into labor market In MENA there is a high dependency ratio (73%) and a high rate of urban growth, with women constituting just less than 50% of the total population.

20 Market Failures Affecting Young Women
Employers may be unwilling to incur the “perceived” transaction costs and risks in hiring young women “Perceptions” hold considering the high levels of male unemployment and expectations of male bread winner despite the changing economic and social realities Formal credit markets often exclude women who are less likely than men to own land and other collateral Because of the uncertainty associated with lending to beginners and informational asymmetries (between older/younger workers and between women/men) formal credit markets are not responsive to young people and especially young women Being based in small towns, rural area markets makes it hard to start a business or search for and travel to work or to expand output and sales due to poor infrastructure, lack of information and market thinness

21 Ensuring Gender Equality in Youth Employment in MENA
Good Practices Ensuring Gender Equality in Youth Employment in MENA

22 School to Work Transition Surveys JORDAN
Conducted through ILO GENPROM in a number of countries including Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Jordan Female and male interviewees from five target groups: in-school youth, job seekers, young employees, young self-employed and own-account workers & employers & managers of young people Determines how well the education/training system prepares young people for the labor market, their perceptions and aspirations for entering the labor market, how they actually conduct the job search, the influence of the family in choice of occupations, whether they prefer wage or self employment, the barriers to and supports for entry into the labor market, attitudes of employers towards hiring young workers, how young people view work, marriage and family responsibilities Gender differentials - especially why it is harder for young women than for young men to make the transition from school to work

23 IT Training: Partnership with Corporate Sector
UNIFEM, Cisco Systems, Government of Jordan, YMCA, UNRWA and UNDP Training to bridge gender gap in IT sector Over 200 young women underwent a two-month training in IT skills Training designed to help female students build technological knowledge & improve competitiveness in the labor market A job-placement program helps students put their skills to use Tracking of graduates to evaluate the benefits of the training

24 Gender Equality and Youth Employment in MENA
Next Steps Gender Equality and Youth Employment in MENA Youth employment, for both women and men, need to be a part of the new social contract in the MENA region.

25 Life Cycle Approach Youth is a challenging stage because individuals are increasingly expanding their roles and responsibilities without the protections often provided other groups Decisions and investments in youth have implications for labor market in the later stages of life and market relevant skills need to be a part of a life long learning Life long learning is important for women and men, but women’s participation in the care economy mean that their skills can be interrupted and therefore outdated

26 Policy responses Improving availability & quality of sex-disaggregated data on labor markets including women’s informal employment & gender earnings gaps Gender responsive laws and policy approaches in Job creation, finance, micro-finance, safety nets Quality vocational training programs Infrastructure and urban Rural development/agriculture Labor codes Public sector budgeting National policy frameworks (PRSPs & Youth Employment Action Plans) Investing in young women by prioritizing their Secondary education Transition from education to work through labour market Quality and labor market relevant training Physical safety Developing positive role models of young women’s work to address attitudes & percetions through media, schools, and communities Adopting explicit equal opportunity goals and measures in vocational training systems Including both males and females meaningfully in the full range of standard vocational training programmes rather than providing only traditionally female-oriented skills to girls and women Revising all training curricula to avoid gender stereotyping and to promote equality between the sexes Encouraging both boys and girls to enter non-traditional occupations in order to break existing patterns of job segregation – for example girls into scientific and technical fields and boys into jobs in the care sector Establishing more effective linkages between training systems and labour markets so that girls and women are trained in employable skills alongside boys and men Offering special tailor-made training for potentially vulnerable groups of women Raising awareness among men workers in workplace-based training programmes about their role in sharing family responsibilities Introducing prevention of sexual harassment and gender-based violence at work into vocational training

27 For more information and a copy of this presentation please contact:
Simel Esim, Ph.D. Regional Gender Advisor ILO Regional Office—Arab States


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