My name is Matthew French and I work for JBS International, Inc. This blog draws upon research conducted under contract with USAID’s office of Education (read the full youth engagement report here), as well as my own experiences working with young people.
Tanzania is currently facing an undeniable challenge: there are few girls in the information and communication technology (ICT) field, and those who want to join the field often opt instead for roles that commonly have limited vacancies, like doctor’s positions. This leads to a scarcity of female role models who have thrived in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and ICT.
Although countries have dramatically closed gender gaps in education and labor force participation, gender differences within education and employment persist. Women earn less income and work in lower paying occupations and sectors than men do. Women are less likely to become entrepreneurs, and, when they do, they typically run smaller, less-profitable firms. These gender gaps in entrepreneurship, incomes, and productivity persist at all levels of development, despite a multitude of policies aimed at eliminating them.
It’s critical to enable an environment that promotes economic justice for women from early in life. Failure to address the economic violence that manifests in girlhood will have lasting effects throughout women’s and girls’ lives.
It’s 8 March 2017, International Women’s Day. As my colleague David beautifully said: “It’s a day to remember that women are not treated equally to men across the world. It’s a reminder that women worldwide are exposed to shocking abuse from sexual violence and female genital mutilation, to forced early marriage and deprivation of their most basic rights.
Globally, there are 600 million adolescent girls in developing countries who face challenges to education and health services and too often face persistent discrimination and violence. They frequently have limited opportunities to gain the education, knowledge, resources, and skills that can lead to economic advancement.
Social isolation, economic vulnerability, and lack of access to health care and education prevent healthy transitions from childhood to adulthood, especially for vulnerable adolescent girls in developing countries. In Zambia, poor girls often are at high risk of gender-based violence, unintended pregnancy, and HIV. Many drop out of school, are unable to find employment, lack the ability to make independent decisions, and are not being reached by existing programs for young people.
Join the Population Council and Restless Development, a global agency for youth-led development, for a webinar showcasing tools and resources to help program planners maximize the impact of their girl-centered programming.
The SDGs build on the success of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and aim to go further to end all forms of poverty. The new Goals are unique in that they call for action by all countries - regardless of income - to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and addresses a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.