08/28/2008

Youth employment: Breaking gender barriers for young women and men

Despite efforts by the international community, gender stereotyping and
employment barriers continue to affect millions of young women and men around
the world, said the International Labour Organization earlier this month on the
occasion of International Youth Day.

Five years after International Youth Day raised the issue of high unemployment
and under-employment rates for young people, the ILO is calling for renewed
attention on behalf of governments and social partners to avert the growing
youth employment crisis. One billion young people will reach working age within
the next decade.

"It is imperative that we work together to strengthen the productive potential
of young women and men", said Juan Somavia, Director-General of the
International Labour Office.

The particular dimensions of youth employment vary according to sex, age,
ethnicity, educational level and training, family background, health status and
disability, among others. But the overall picture shows that the labour force
participation rates for young women are far lower than those for young men.

Equal access to quality education and training for girls and boys remains the
best start to finding decent work. However, even where young women's education
levels are the same or higher than men's, young women face more difficulties in
the transition to working life because of continued labour market
discrimination. And when they do find a job, it is often lower paid and in the
informal economy, making them more vulnerable to poverty and marginalization.

"A key employment challenge is tackling occupational segregation of
traditionally accepted 'male' and 'female' jobs, and to break the gender
barriers in opening up professions to both sexes," explains Geir Tonstol of the
ILO Bureau for Gender Equality. "In many countries young women are still
encouraged to train in relatively low-skilled and poorly paid 'feminine'
occupations with little prospect of upward mobility, while young men are
encouraged to go into modern technology-based training and employment, which
often pay better."

As part of its year-long campaign on "Gender Equality at the Heart of Decent
Work", the ILO is actively promoting decent employment for young women and men
everywhere, highlighting that rather than being viewed as a problem, the inflow
of young people into the labour market should be recognized as an enormous
opportunity and potential for economic and social development.


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AplusA-online.de - Source: International Labour Organization (ILO)