Discrepancies in pay for women are nothing new. However, the ongoing inequality has led to overwhelming financial losses across the globe. In 2018, the World Bank estimated that a lack of equal pay and opportunity for women globally accounts for a striking $160 trillion global deficit. Countries like Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan and Vietnam–which are responsible for large exports of apparel globally–are seeking to correct outdated practices by supporting women’s education and careers in hopes of building a greater future.
U.N. Women’s gender-focused education project aims to promote economic growth within the country. By focusing on young women and girls, the initiatives encourage formal education and business communities. Educational policymakers are in connection as well to formally improve the connection of education of women to employment. As a result, there have been 205 completed infrastructure improvements, the building and funding of four new community schools and interactive learning techniques and methods with 3,990 students. Additionally, the project has helped mothers to better understand financial literacy and the importance of their daughters’ education.
Turkey has the second-highest rate of young unemployed people. While only 34.5% of women have entered the workforce in Turkey, the country is working hard to initiate a movement toward women’s career and education growth. The Young Women Building Their Future program focuses on the nearly 3.5 million women in Turkey who have not had access to formal schooling or vocational training.
Governmental developmental goals focused on supporting women’s education and careers seek to “leave no one behind” and provide opportunities specifically to young women designed to help them enter, navigate and succeed in the workforce.
Pakistan has set inclusive gender growth participation targets to rise from 26% to 45%. In the last 22 years, the participation rate has almost doubled but the World Bank and other programs, are seeking to increase educational and career rates at an even faster pace.
Because work for pay increases with formal education, the country seeks to move beyond the only 10% of college-educated women in the coming years. With pay increasing three-fold for women with formal secondary education, this goal could contribute to decreasing poverty rates as well as inequality.
Vietnam has developed the National Strategy on Gender Equality with female-focused entrepreneurship goals set for the 2021-2030 period. Among those goals, promoting gender equality and employment opportunities for women–who make up approximately 50% of the overall population–is at the forefront of goals.
With goals such as focusing on reducing unpaid work by women, promoting women to director and ownership positions of business, as well as reducing domestic and gender-based violence also at the forefront, the country hopes to combat poverty rates with opportunities for women.
As these countries come together with goals of reducing poverty through supporting women’s education and careers, the future is bright for the current and future generations.
– Michelle Collingridge