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UN Women


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UN Women, grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security. Placing women’s rights at the centre of all its efforts, UN Women leads and coordinates United Nations system efforts to ensure that commitments on gender equality and gender mainstreaming translate into action throughout the world. UN Women provides strong and coherent leadership in support of Member States’ priorities and efforts, building effective partnerships with civil society and other relevant actors.

UN Women in Bangladesh supports the government in implementing commitments to international normative standards on gender equality and women’s human rights. In line with the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) for 2022-2026, UN Women Bangladesh’s Strategic Note (2022-2026), defines UN Women’s strategic engagement in Bangladesh. The country strategy focuses on strengthening the national structures and mechanisms for gender mainstreaming in policies, plans and budgets; supporting efforts to prevent and eliminate violence against women; promoting women’s access to decent and safe work; promoting policies and government investment in women’s empowerment and resilience building in the context of climate change, humanitarian crisis as well as other threats to peace and security. UN Women works with a range of stakeholders in Bangladesh including the government, civil society and women’s organizations, youth, UN agencies and donors, to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.

UN Women Bangladesh focuses on women’s economic empowerment and addresses women’s economic empowerment issues that are central to the priorities of the Government of Bangladesh (GoB). UN Women follows a whole-of-society approach rooted in feminist values to ensure that women have income security, decent work, and are economically empowered. As such, UN Women Bangladesh works with the most vulnerable groups of women – which include women migrant workers, women with disabilities, gender diverse groups, ethnic minorities, and home-based workers, among others – to enhance their voices and economic leadership. 

The Government of Bangladesh recognizes women’s economic empowerment as one of the key goals to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Despite strong policy frameworks and commitments, women remain marginalized and deeply undervalued in social and economic life. This results in low participation in the formal economy, low wages, poor economic resilience and autonomy, and vulnerability to highly gendered risks of exploitation. The economic growth has not been translated into inclusive growth, and women’s labour force participation has not increased as expected in the formal sector.  Although the female labor force participation increased to 42.68 percent in 2022 from 36.3 percent in 2016-17, it remains roughly half of male participation (80.5 percent) . While the participation rate in rural areas rose considerably from 38.6% to 51% from 2016-17 to 2022; there has been a decline in urban areas from 31% to 23.68%. Female employment continues to be concentrated heavily in relatively low skilled, low paid and primarily informal agricultural activities (74.1%). Moreover, around 12.5% of employed women are unpaid contributing family workers. While informality affects both genders, women are disproportionately impacted. Only 3.4% of employed women held formal jobs compared to 21.6% of men. 

This is also reflected in sectors related to Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), wherein women’s participations low overall, despite a slight increase in girls student’s enrollment in technical and vocational education from 24% in 2017 to 27.12 % in 2022 (Gender Budget Report 2023-24).  The Bangladesh Technical Education Board’s (BTEB) enrolment data (2015-2016) for girls reveals how girls are under-represented in technical education.  95% of female students study nursing while a negligible number of them chose other career paths such as making footwear, electrical engineering, and mechanics, sectors that are highly dominated by men. Moreover, there is a low demand for TVET among potential female students, especially in poor and vulnerable districts, something that can be explained by a lack of awareness and encouragement from parents and society and negative perceptions and attitudes from employers.

The gender ratio among teachers/instructors in TVET institutions is 20% . In addition, women are significantly under-represented in informal or formal institutions. The female dropout rate from secondary education is high, many of the female dropouts enter low-skilled jobs, informal economy, remain unemployed, and/or engage in unpaid care work at home. Therefore, a significant proportion of women remain devoid of opportunities to enroll in TVET programmes, especially in districts which continue to lag behind in terms of economic development and gender equality indicators.

The COVID-19 pandemic further widened the gender gap, with more women losing their income opportunities. Moreover, the pandemic had a huge impact on students as more male students had access to digital devices for online classes. According to ILO’s internal skills project training database around 75% of the currently enrolled youth use smartphones and the institutes under the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE) are conducting skills training using online platforms. However, only 28% women are enrolled through online platforms. In addition, a study by BRAC found that only 5% of rural women have access to digital devices (BRAC-BIGD survey 2019). Another hindrance to gender equality in skills and employment is occupational segregation which remains a predominant feature of TVET and labor markets. 

Various studies identify social norms, attitudinal, and behavioral barriers from parents and neighbors as critical challenges for the inclusion of women in TVET. Other challenges include financial constraints, inappropriate training environment, lack of incubation support for female entrepreneurs, lack of security, deficient accommodation facilities, workplace sexual harassment, information and knowledge gap, low prospects for decent work, and low self-confidence.

The Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) Policy (2019) has provisions to extend programmes for women’s entrepreneurship and provide support to women to involve in specialized services. Women’s engagement in non-traditional sectors such as information and communication technology (ICT), e-Commerce, and health care is also increasing gradually. Moreover, the number of female exporters and importers increased steadily between 2005-2015, with a sharp increase in 2019. However, despite the policy and programme support provided by the government, women still face barriers to becoming entrepreneurs and running and expanding their businesses. The challenges include lack of mobility, access to information, digital technology, financial resources and services, and market opportunities as well as social norms that for example prevent women from getting loans. In addition, women entrepreneurs mainly engage in manufacturing, textile sector, agriculture, leather, pharmaceuticals, and education consultancy. 

In this context, UN Women with support from ILO, is implementing a project titled “Promoting Gender Responsive Enterprise Development and TVET Systems (ProGRESS)”.  The objective is to enhance employment for women in the skills sector, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) 2022-2026, strategic priority on Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Development.

Duties and Responsibilities

Overall objectives of the project:

  • To provide technical inputs to review/updating policies and strategies for gender responsive TVET and enterprises
  • To strengthening institutional capacity of public and private institutions to provide gender-responsive services.

Description of Responsibilities/ Scope of Work:

  • To support implementation of the ProGRESS project, UN Women is seeking the services of a national consultant to provide technical, coordination and documentation support in the following areas.
  • Coordinate and provide technical support to form gender and skills taskforce to review the implementation of policies and strategies relating to the Gender Equality in TVET for the promotion of Gender Equality (GE) and elimination of Gender -based Violence (GBV) in TVET/Skills training institutions.
  • Organise periodic meetings with MoWCA and other relevant ministries to form the “Gender and Skills” taskforce.
  • Provide technical and coordination support for advocacy events on Gender Equality (GE) in TVET
  • Provide technical support to develop background papers/ concept note on gender and skills.
  • Design and deliver capacity building workshops with MoWCA, DWA and other relevant ministries on gender aspects of skills.
  • Coordinate and provide technical support to organize policy dialogues on gender equality in TVET/Skills training to implement/review National Skills Development Policy (NSDP) and National Strategy of Gender Equality in TVET
  • Develop policy advocacy plan for women/ girls’ access to nontraditional technical education and market-oriented skills for employment.
  • Develop series of policy briefs on select topics related to women/girls’ education in TVET and   employment opportunities in the Technical and Vocational sectors.
  • Organise consultations with multi-stakeholders for reviewing national strategy on skills and gender equality.
  • Provide technical support DTE/BTEB to develop and set-up a tracking system for gender targets and monitoring implementation of action plans (Development and setting-up of the tracking system will be led by ILO. UN Women will provide technical support to integrate gender perspectives)
  • Provide technical support in developing the tracking system and developing tools and indicators from a gender lens.
  • Organize capacity building workshops for DTE/ BTEB/ TVET institute officials on gender responsive targets, reporting and monitoring.
  • Provide technical support DTE/TMED to undertake gender audit and self-assessment of the training institutions and identify the gaps and challenges relating to gender mainstreaming in skills trainings
  • Liaise with government officials for the selection of gender audit tool/self-assessment tool, facilitate the assessment and organise capacity building sessions and workshops as required to facilitate the process, in close consultation with relevant national and international experts.
  • Manage coordination and communication with national and international experts for their inputs on gender audit.  A technical workshop will be organized among the national level gender and audit experts under the leadership of UN Women internal experts on “Gender and Audit” to select and develop gender audit tools.
  • Provide technical and coordination support to conduct needs assessment and validation workshops with TVET institutions.
  • Provide coordination support to ensure editing, translation, printing of the gender audit tool. 

Documentation and reporting

  • Provide technical support to prepare events/ workshops reports and result-based reports following UN Women internal and donor reporting compliances.

Required Skills and Experience

Education:

  • Master’s degree or equivalent in Economics / Women’s and Gender Studies/Development Studies/Law/Political Science/Anthropology or other relevant Social Science discipline.

Technical Competencies:

  • Minimum 10 years of demonstrable experience of working with Government on the national polices/ strategies / action plan on gender equality/ women’s advancement.
  • Proven track record on developing policy briefs and advocacy papers for the government ministries/departments   focusing on the gender equality issues, specifically on women’s economic empowerment.
  • Strong background in capacity building and facilitation with the government officials particularly with the Technical Training institutions. 
  • Experience in working with TVET/ Skills development institutions will be an asset.

Language:

  • Excellent communication and writing skills in Bangla and English.

Source: https://jobs.undp.org/cj_view_job.cfm?cur_job_id=116004

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