You are viewing an archived web page, collected at the request of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) using Archive-It. This page was captured on 07:48:56 Oct 05, 2022, and is part of the UNESCO collection. The information on this web page may be out of date. See All versions of this archived page.
Loading media information hide


UNESCO-UNEVOC Logo open menu

About Us

The UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre: Who We Are | What We Do | Working With Us | Get in Touch

Our Network

The UNEVOC Network: Learn About the Network | UNEVOC Network Directory
For Members: UNEVOC Centre Dashboard

Skills for Work and Life

Thematic Areas: Inclusion and Youth | Digital Transformation | Private Sector Engagement | SDGs and Greening TVET
Our Key Programmes & Projects: BILT: Bridging Innovation and Learning in TVET | Building TVET resilience | TVET Leadership Programme | WYSD: World Youth Skills Day
Past Activities: COVID-19 response | i-hubs project | TVET Global Forums | Virtual Conferences | YEM Knowledge Portal

Knowledge Resources

Our Services & Resources: Publications | TVET Forum | TVET Country Profiles | TVETipedia Glossary | Innovative and Promising Practices | Entrepreneurial Learning Guide
Events: Major TVET Events | UNEVOC Network News

Access to Quality TVET for All

While the fundamental right to education and training has been well established and recognized within numerous political frameworks across the world, young people and adults still face difficulties accessing or completing TVET programmes. Systemic discrimination, inequalities related to course materials and school infrastructure, and discriminatory career guidance practices are examples of barriers affecting access and participation in TVET programmes. Systems and institutions must ensure equal access to technical and vocational education and training opportunities regardless of gender, age, religion or ethnic background, and with special consideration for vulnerable members of society, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children.

Gender Equality in Education

UNESCO has identified gender equality as a global priority and the international community’s commitment to gender equality in education and training is well embedded in Sustainable Development Goal 4, which aims to ensure the right to inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all. Extending this commitment, UNESCO-UNEVOC works to promote equal access to quality TVET for all.

Gender equality unleashes the full power of education to tackle the problem of imbalanced power relations, social norms, discriminatory practices and belief systems underpinning gender-based disparities and contributing to societal exclusion. This includes the essential first step of ensuring gender parity - equal numbers and proportions of girls and boys enrolled in and completing different levels of education. Gender equality is, however, much more than that; it speaks to the birth of a new era of education that considers the needs, interests and lived experiences of all learners, and which tackles the intersecting and simultaneous disadvantages that may inhibit a child, youth or adult from fully exercising their right to participate in, complete and benefit from education.

Boosting Gender Equality in Science and Technology

Overall, female representation in TVET is lower in comparison to general education programmes; the UNESCO Institute for Statistics estimated that 43% of students enrolled in vocational programmes at the upper secondary (ISCED 3) in 2017 were female, compared to 49% in general education programmes (UIS Data).

These gender disparities are more prevalent in some fields than in others, with girls and women particularly under-represented in fields requiring science, technology, engineering and mathematic (STEM) skills and knowledge: women account for only 35% of STEM students in higher education globally (UNESCO 2018). This under-representation is significant and detrimental to both individuals and society. In addition to being required for ‘traditional’ and ‘emerging’ occupations, STEM skills and knowledge are often needed for the so-called ‘jobs of the future’ - driving innovation, inclusive growth and sustainable development.

While much of the focus to date has been on the participation of girls and women in school and university STEM education, there has been relatively little attention paid to the participation of girls and women in STEM-related TVET. Recognizing the gap in TVET-specific data and literature, UNESCO-UNEVOC conducted a study on boosting gender equality in science and technology throughout 2019 and 2020. The report on this study was published at the end of 2020 and provides an overview of gender disparities in STEM-related TVET for ten countries. The ten case countries were selected in collaboration with members of UNESCO’s global platform of TVET institutions, the UNEVOC Network.

Boosting gender equality in science and technology

A challenge for TVET programmes and careers
While technical and vocational education and training (TVET) has the potential to bolster the participation of women in the labour market, this potential is not always well understood and capitalized on. In general, female students are lowly represen ...

download     read more    

Find out more about our work on the following cross-cutting thematic areas:

News & Activities

4 March 2022
International Women's Day 2022: Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow
On 8 March 2022, International Women’s Day is being celebrated under the theme “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, recognizing the contribution of women and girls around the world who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response, to build a more sustainable future for all.
read more

Publications & Resources

Global education monitoring report 2022: Gender report, deepening the debate on those still left behind

The 2022 Gender Report presents fresh insights on progress towards gender parity in education with respect to access, attainment and learning. It showcases the results of a new model that provide coherent estimates, combining multiple sources of info ...

view     read more    

When schools shut: Gendered impacts of COVID-19 school closures

This UNESCO global study exposes failure to factor in gender in COVID-19 education responses and widening gaps in access to quality education following school closures. Citing some 90 countries, the study shows that despite governments' and partn ...

view     read more    

UNESCO-UNEVOC virtual conference: Understanding the causes of gender disparities in STEM-related TVET

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-related technical and vocational education and training (TVET) has a potentially significant role to play in providing the skills and competencies required to support innovation, productivity an ...

download     read more    

Boosting gender equality in science and technology

A challenge for TVET programmes and careers
While technical and vocational education and training (TVET) has the potential to bolster the participation of women in the labour market, this potential is not always well understood and capitalized on. In general, female students are lowly represen ...

download     read more    

Promising & Innovative Practices

More Women in ICT
UNESCO-UNEVOC Promising Practice

Development of female entrepreneurship
UNESCO-UNEVOC Promising Practice

Transforming lives through code training
UNESCO-UNEVOC Promising Practice

Empowering rural women through ICT in TVET
UNESCO-UNEVOC Promising Practice