Investing in girls’ education and women’s employment strengthens economies and reduces inequality
International Women’s Day highlights the key issues on gender equality
TASHKENT, 8 March 2021– On International Women’s Day, UNICEF has called for investment in girl’s education, access to information, capacity building, empowerment and providing equal employment opportunities for young women, to shape a more equal future for girls and women in leadership.
This year’s theme “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world” seeks to join efforts to ensure girls’ and women’s equal participation in all spheres.
“The women we see in leadership today, had opportunities in the past: Opportunities to get an education, to access resources, to get a job. Let us accord such opportunities to girls and young woman in Uzbekistan today,” said Munir Mammadzade, UNICEF Representative in Uzbekistan.
While much has been achieved for girls and women, much remains to be done to create equal opportunities. Recent evidence shows that girls in Uzbekistan are much more excluded from higher education than boys with only 37 % of students enrolled in universities being girls. Further, in the area of employment young women, are hugely excluded from the job market. After completion of compulsory secondary education, 56% of young people of 19-24 years of age are not in education, employment, or training (NEET). The NEET-rate for females increases rapidly once they are above 18 years of age (from 1.7% to 69.0%) and reaches 74.0% for the cohort of 25-30-year-olds, whereas for males it remains generally lower (maximum of 33.5%) and decreases with age (to 24.8%).
Meanwhile, evidence also shows, how girls and young women have barriers to accessing information through the internet. The number of young women of the age of 14-30 who have never used the internet is two times higher than men of the same age – 68.1% and 34.3% accordingly.
Research has shown that enhanced social protection for girls from low-income families and support in receiving concessionary loans on higher education for women is key and in the medium term contributes to more stable, resilient societies.
In Uzbekistan, the government has made significant efforts to fight violence against women and provide equal opportunities for both boys and girls to fulfill their potential. However, state organizations, NGOs, and communities still need to enhance platforms that ensure equitable access to higher education and employment opportunities. Specifically, UNICEF is calling for the following:
- Enhancing formal and non-formal education of life, technical, innovation, and entrepreneurial skills with a focus on young women,
- Promote women’s stronger participation in economic, political and public spheres,
- Campaigns showing harmful social norms such as marrying off girls, impeding access to high education and the centrality of positive parenting.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.uz.