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How skilled is the GirlForce?

The world has changed in the last four to five decades, with technology and innovation spearheading this change. Educated and skilled workers are in great demand, but roughly a quarter of young people – most of them female – are currently neither employed or in education or training.

UNICEF Ghana with support from Global Affaires Canada and Korean International Coorperation (KOICA) is working to expand opportunities for adolescent girls.  This year’s theme for the Day of the Girl was, “With Her a Skilled GirlForce”

Several activities were undertaken during the day including a live radio interview with two girls who are in ‘male dominated’ fields- learning electronics and electricals, a mentoring session for young girls and boys of Don Bosco Technical Institute led by a female blogger, Naa Oyo Quartey and an #Ampe Challenge (encouraging girls to stay fit)

During the engagement Naa Oyo said, “It is overall, a rewarding experience for me to be a beacon of inspiration and hope to a younger generation of girls and boys. In this ever-evolving job market, if we don't prepare our girls for what's ahead, finding a job or starting their own business would be a major hurdle. An untrained, less-educated girl would be faced with sexual corruption where men ask for sexual favours in exchange for a job prospect, physical abuse from male partners because of her inability to earn her own income, forced to accept low wages, and suffer poor self-confidence due to lack of skills and knowledge. Let us come together in our own way to support initiatives and events surrounding girl education in Ghana and Africa.”

As part of the activities for the celebration of the International Day of the Girl, a U-Report was launched ahead of the day with a focus on skills development for girls.

From the poll results, 54% of the respondents thought that it is harder for women to get jobs compared to men. Often, some jobs and careers are thought to be the preserve of men and vice versa. Many agencies are championing advocacies and campaigns to encourage girls to develop interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) which in effect will open the door way for many girls to get jobs because they would have acquired the skills.

From the U-Report poll on the International Day of the Girl, it revealed that 58% believed that the subjects learnt in school do not really prepare young people for the job market.

UNICEF is engaging stakeholders to rapidly expand access to inclusive education and training, improve the quality, relevance and gender-responsiveness of teaching and learning to enable girls to develop the foundational, transferable and job-specific skills needed for life and work.

Also to create inclusive and accessible schools, training and learning opportunities to empower girls with disabilities, change stereotypes, social norms and unconscious bias in relation to gender roles to enable girls to have the same learning and career opportunities as boys, increase girls’ participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) learning, create initiatives to support girls’ school-to-work transition, such as career guidance, apprenticeships, internships and entrepreneurship, deliver large-scale public and private sector programming for girls’ skills.

On International Day of the Girl, let’s stand with her – the future leader, entrepreneur, teacher, scientist and software engineer – to develop skills now and to remove other gender barriers she faces, so that she and every girl can join A Skilled GirlForce.

See by the numbers how we are engaging youth voices for positive social change.