International Day of the Girl 2018

Key actions for creating a skilled #GirlForce

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UNICEF/Bosnia and Herzegovina/ITGirls/2018

Succeeding in the workforce of tomorrow

Today's generation of girls are preparing to enter a world of work that is being transformed by innovation and automation. Educated and skilled workers are in great demand, but roughly a quarter of young people – most of them female – are currently neither employed nor in education nor training.

Of the 1 billion young people – including 600 million adolescent girls – that will enter the workforce in the next decade, more than 90 per cent of those living in developing countries will work in the informal sector - jobs that are not regulated or protected – where low or no pay, abuse and exploitation are common. The most disadvantaged girls — including those in rural areas and those with disabilities — have even less access to decent work. 

Right now, many girls are not developing the skills they need to secure decent work. Ten percent of primary-aged girls are out of school. Many more are not able to progress to secondary school and need support developing basic skills in reading and math.

Transferable skills – such as self-confidence, problem solving, teamwork and critical thinking – are key to succeed in the rapidly changing world of work, yet many schools do not focus on these “21st century skills,” including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education.

Creating opportunities for girls from across the region

IT Girls – in Bosnia and Herzegovina girls learn how to code their way into the future

Wanting to address the issue that girls have the same access to technology, but less confidence in pursuing technology careers, UN Women, UNDP and UNICEF launched the “IT Girls” initiative.

Girls involved in the project learn software development and attend workshops on robotics, 3D printing, and other cutting-edge technology. The project aims to increase women and girls’ involvement in the labor market, with equal participation in all careers – including in science, technology, engineering and math.

Techstitution – young people develop software for public institutions in Kosovo (SCR 1244)

TechStitution teaches adolescents and youth ICT skills so they can develop technology tools and products for public institutions. 

Working alongside mentors, they identify problems, propose and design technological solutions. Through the project youth contribute to the formation of smart institutions that deliver improved services to people living in Kosovo (SCR 1244).

The TechStitution project was developed in partnership with Girls Coding Kosovo (SCR 1244) and Open Data Kosovo (SCR 1244).

UPSHIFT- equipping youth in Ukraine with skills to transition into the workforce

The UPSHIFT programme combines social innovation workshops with mentorship as well as materials and seed funding to equip young people with the skills and resources they need to identify and solve issues in their communities.

Participants build skills and resilience; while their communities benefit from the solutions they create.

UPSHIFT was developed with the support of the European Union and although initially launched in Kharkiv, the one year project aims to reach young people from other regions of Ukraine.

Girls on the skills they need for success

Three girls from the UPSHIFT programme give their perspective on the skills every girl needs for the future.

Annya Sergienko, participant at UPSHIFT Ukraine, a social entrepreneurship skills development programme, Ukraine, 2018.
UNICEF/Ukraine/Upshift/2018
Annya Sergienko, participant at UPHSIFT Ukraine, a social entrepreneurship skills development programme, Ukraine, 2018.

UPSHIFT helped me overcome the isolation I experienced since the conflict in Eastern Ukraine broke out (I am form Lugansk). Sharing experiences with new people my age helped me learn about communication and teamwork. At the workshops, I learned about psychology and non-violent communication and practiced active-listening. I'm still constantly learning and practicing new skills. I am happier and more at ease with each new connection I make. Thanks to the UPSHIFT experience I was able to find work and join a theatre community – which has enriched my life more than I could have imagine just a year ago.

Anya, 21
Ekaterina Hramzova, 19, participates at the UPSHIFT workshop in Kharkiv, Ukraine, 2018.
UNICEF/Ukraine/2018
Ekaterina Hramzova, 19, participates at the UPSHIFT workshop in Kharkiv, Ukraine, 2018.

Applying for the UPSHIFT Ukraine programme, I already felt like a winner, despite the difficulties of implementing my chosen project. Self-confidence, and focus were abilities that I strengthened while there and I believe they helped me succeed. These abilities can and should be developed to achieve future success.

Katia, 19
Elia, 18, participates at the UPSHIFT social entrepreneurship skills development programme, Ukraine, 2018.
UNICEF/Ukraine/Upshift/2018
Elia, 18, participates at the UPSHIFT social entrepreneurship skills development programme, Ukraine, 2018.

For me the scariest thing is to not be able to find a way out of a difficult situation. UPSHIFT helped me realize just how much we can learn in a relatively short period of time and how we can acquire abilities we think are not naturally ours. “Brain plasticity” is really just that – you can learn complex things if you push yourself hard enough.

Elia, 18

Breaking down gender stereotypes and empowering girls

Nadia (10) participates in a STEM-focused workshop at the UNICEF-supported summer school of hobbies in Srebrenica (Eastern Bosnia), August 2016.
UNICEF/UN040450/Panjeta
Nadia, 10, participates in a STEM-focused workshop at the UNICEF-supported summer school of hobbies in Srebrenica (Eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina), August 2016

In Azerbaijan, the #GirlsCan campaign aims to promote gender equality and inspire more girls to join careers viewed as traditionally male. As part of the campaign a series of videos were produced with the participation of a girl football player, a young entrepreneur and a writer sharing their experiences of breaking stereotypes around girls` participation in different public spheres.

Link to video on it's hosted site.
UNICEF/Azerbaijan/2018

Never doubt how strong and important you are. Believe in yourself and you can achieve anything.

Amina Heydarova, women's national football team, Azerbaijan.