Assignment: Conduct a study to map current initiatives and assess practices, achievements and gaps in gender equality and gender mainstreaming in skills/TVET systems; and provide recommendations on relevant strategies and appropriate plan of actions necessary for key stakeholders and ILO to undertake to address identified gaps and barriers in TVET/skills development system.
Contract Type: External Collaborator (local)
Duty stations: Lebanon
Languages required: English and Arabic
Duration of contract: 40 working days over the period of 3 months (tentatively the assignment will start from September 2023. Date will be finalized after completion of recruitment process.
The ‘PROSPECTS’ Partnership for improving Prospects for host communities and forcibly displaced persons(FDPs)1, was launched by the Government of the Netherlands in 2019 in response to forced displacement crises, bringing together the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the International Labour Organization(ILO), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank. The partnership spans eight countries affected by forced displacement, namely Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon,Sudan, and Uganda.
Within the framework of the PROSPECTS programme in Lebanon, ILO’s focus is on enhancing resilience of the country’s crisis- distressed labour market and creating better livelihoods for both Lebanese host communities and Syrian refugees. It is doing so by promoting the development of market relevant skills, enhancing employment placement services and labour market governance, strengthening social protection schemes and promoting micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) as well as sectors, including the agriculture and agro-food with potential for decent job creation.
With funding from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), the International Labour Organization (ILO) is implementing a Global Programme on Skills and Lifelong Learning (GPSL3) to support the establishment of effective skills and lifelong learning skills system. The ILO Global Programme on Skills and Lifelong Learning (GPSL3) aims to provide coordinated and enhanced support to ILO constituents to develop and implement new generation skills and lifelong learning ecosystems for decent Future of Work.The Lebanon component SkillUp3 aims to improve skills development system to facilitate access to and transitions of vulnerable groups in the labour market. The project focus on provision of market-responsive skills training and work-based learning, enhancing skills utilisation and productivity, and improving skills governance including digitalisation of skills system.
The two projects use gender equality and women’s empowerment as a central theme to drive improvements in policy, skills and business service provision to empower Lebanese and non-Lebanese women inclusion in the labour market. The disproportionate impact of the multifaceted crisis on women’s employment, increasedincidences of violence against women and their increased ’care work’ and other factors reinforce the urgency of this focus. Through these projects, the ILO seeks to mitigate the impact of the crisis while using skills development and entrepreneurship as an opportunity to advance access to quality skills training and decent employment and amplify the potential for women in unconventional jobs, digital and green economy and enterprise development as an important aspect in creating jobs. The projects combine upstream interventions(capacity building and policy support) and downstream (practical demonstration, awareness raising, skills training) to achieve sustainable change focusing on economically underdeveloped areas and vulnerable communities. The projects aim to achieve an enrolment rate of 50% in skills training, and significantly increase women’s graduation and labour market insertion, and gender-based violence-free training and working environments.
Women face a number of challenges in accessing and completing quality education and training, and, subsequently, in transitioning to decent employment. They are more likely to be in vulnerable employment, such as informal employment and in unpaid family work. Occupational segregation remains a predominant feature of training and labour markets, limiting women choices and confining them to lower-paid and lower status jobs. All these factors further contribute to their social and economic marginalization.
According to the Labour Force Household Survey (ILO-CAS 2022)4, women labour force participation is 22.2%while unemployment rate among women is 32.7% compared to male 66.2% and 28.4 respectively. The overall share of women in managerial positions recorded a drop of about 2 percentage points to 26.7% in January2022, down from 28.9% in 2018-2019. Almost one-third of the female youth population was not in employment, education, or in training in January 2022 (32.1%), a net increase from 2018-2019, when the NEETrate for young women was 26.8%. The female NEET rate was higher than the corresponding male rate in all governorates except in Beirut and Bekaa. The highest female NEET rate was recorded in Akkar (48.6%)followed by North Lebanon (37.7%). The highest male NEET rate was recorded in Beirut (35.2%) followed by Bekaa (32.5%).
Several reasons are often cited as barriers to women’s economic participation including social norms which expect men to be breadwinners and women homemakers. This perception leads to the disproportionate responsibility of unpaid care and other productive and reproductive roles in the home falling on women constraining their ability to take up paid work. Coupled with this are issues of a slow-growing economy creating few jobs and mismatches between skills gained and those demanded in the market. This situation has been compounded by the war in Syria and the influx of refugees to Lebanon which, some estimates say, has increased the available labour force by 50 percent, and even though their employment is restricted to certain sectors, they are perceived to be competing for the same jobs as locals, and this has led to some level of mistrust and disharmony.
Demand-driven technical and vocational education and training (TVET), flexible to respond to the changing needs of the market, is recognised as an effective route to skills development and employment. If TVET is combined with business education, it can also be an effective strategy to help people create jobs and generate employment, rather than only seeking jobs in a limited economy. However, TVET is often considered a second best choice for students, behind general education. It is not common for business training to be routinely offered as part of TVET training, even though many of the skills development courses are well suited to lead to self-employment.
Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) has the potential to promote the productive participation of women in the labour market, equipping them with the necessary skills to undertake the jobs of the future. However, this potential remains largely unfulfilled in certain occupational sectors, particularly those requiring training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Young women in the education system often do not take optimum advantage of TVET and usually because of social norms, tend to shy away from ‘male trades’ and limit their options to more ‘traditional’ skills such as beauty care, or those that are less likely to lead to profitable, decent work, such as sewing and embroidery. There is high degree of gender-based occupational segregation that correspond to social norms. Lack of gender-mainstreamed career guidance and role models perpetuate gender stereotyping in TVET. Older women, rarely return to or take up education or training, once the first chance has been missed, even though they might have more pressing economic needs or face fewer barriers.
The TVET sector is predominantly male-oriented. There is no official guidance at the Ministry of Education andHigher Education (MEHE) on how TVET programs can help increase gender equality within specializations. TheMEHE has no specific policy on gender equality and specific anti harassment or anti discrimination provisions are lacking. Female students experience harassment within, and on their way to and from schools. There are limited safe transportation options for females as well as limited extracurricular activities for females. According to the Center for Educational Research and development, the number of women in TVET education (public and private) reached 42% of total enrolment (104,266 students) across all sectors and levels in 2020-2021 compared to 41% in 2019-2020 (95879 students). The number of women in STEM related TVET ranges between 0 to around 5%. There is a need to better understand the underlying causes of gender inequality in STEM and the key factors contributing to this inequality including policy frameworks, societal attitudes, the nature of STEM in the classroom and workplace, and how they affect the mindset of girls and women to pursue education and training in STEM subjects.
International development partners, including the ILO, are engaged with the government to reform the TVET system to be better aligned with and responsive to the dynamics of the Lebanese labour market. The National Strategic Framework for TVET (2024-2028) is currently under finalization putting gender-sensitive and inclusive education as key strategic reform. This provides an ideal opportunity to focus on skills development for women; to ensure that skills development programmes respond to the needs and expectations of women, to design programmes that eliminate gender stereotypes and support women reach higher levels of employment, and to understand how skills development and employment impact women’s empowerment more generally within the family and in their communities.
However, gender mainstreamed skills development programmes and TVET and business training for women addresses only one barrier women face in labour force participation that is access to education. To make sure that women graduating from these improved and targeted skills development programmes not only find jobs, but are more likely to remain in them, there is the need to look at the wider environment (institutional practices and services, policies and laws, attitudes to women in communities and at work).
The Ministry of State for Economic Empowerment of Women and Youth (EEWAY), Lebanon, is responsible for socio-economic development policies and programmes aimed primarily at disadvantaged groups of Lebanon’s population, including youth and women. The National Commission for Lebanese Women issued a NationalStrategy for Women in Lebanon (2011-2021) and related action plan including a number of research and guides7, most recent ones in 2022 analyzing gender equality in relation to policies, laws and regulations affecting women economic participation, gender-based violence, and sexual harassment. The latter evidenced the legal loophole and gaps in gender-based policies in Lebanon.
Although these policies and strategies provide a clear direction for gender mainstreaming and women empowerment in TVET/skills development, improvement in economic opportunities is not evenly spread throughout the sectors for different groups. This reality makes it imperative for systematic analysis and clear understanding of the existing gaps and barriers at the various levels - macro, meso and micro levels; as well as the opportunities available to formulate relevant strategies and interventions to translate these policies and agenda into effective actions that will efficiently drive the desired impact of improved dividends of women and girls in terms of social justice, through inclusive participation and equitable benefits in the social and economic space.
The ILO seeks to support its constituents address the major problems and barriers that disproportionately hinder female workforce in Lebanon from equitably and productively participating in the labour market in a sustainable and resilient manner. The ILO aims to work with relevant stakeholders, e.g. government, employers, workers organizations, training and BDS providers in strengthening their capacities for gender mainstreaming; in particular to train and employ more women in selected economic value chains with wider scope for women’s employment, and with particular focus on digital solutions, green and unconventional jobs. Recently, the ILO conducted a Participatory Gender Audit with four Lebanon social partners (ALI, CGTL, LLWB, FENASOL) in order to support them promoting organizational learning and assess the extent to which policies have been institutionalized at the level of the individual, operational unit, and organization. An action plan is put in place for each partner to support them in further achieving gender equality and taking into consideration good practices and identified critical gaps.
As a first step, the ILO intends to conduct a study to map current initiatives, and assess practices, achievements and gaps, including an institutional capacity assessment and SWOT analysis, in achieving gender equality targets and gender mainstreaming in TVET/skills development system (formal and non-formal, public and private, informal skills training offered by NGOs) and in TVET/skills training practices of public and private technical institutes, NGOs, social partners and other ministries/ departments engaged in skills development training. The assessment will also look into the additional barriers faced by women with disabilities and refugee women in accessing TVET programmes and skills development opportunities in the labour market.The study will be based on secondary sources and up to six (6) Focus Group Discussions with TVET institutes(primary in urban regions) and key stakeholders, and up to 20 key informant interviews with other stakeholders to collect evidence on gender discrimination and potential good practices for replication. This assessment will be coordinated with MEHE-DGTVET, MoL, National Commission for Lebanese Women and other relevant ministries, stakeholders, and key NGOs working in the TVET sector to contribute to the development of required actions at national and local level to minimize gender gaps in TVET/ skills development system, improve practices, and design appropriate skills training and gender mainstreaming interventions that ILO would implement between 2023 and 2025.
In view of this, ILO would like to hire a local expert to conduct the study in coordination with relevant entities such as UN Women, National Commission for Lebanese women, MEHE-DGTVE, and social partners.
More information about the assignment and application instructions are at the Apply Button.