Youth leaders call for stronger push to include women in TVET programmes
The Government is being encouraged to create targeted programmes to involve more women in technical vocational education and training (TVET).
The call came from members of the Young Women in Leadership (YWiL) House of Representatives, who had their first sitting on Tuesday.
Arguing that access to TVET programmes increases formal employment earnings, human capital, and one’s ability to navigate the modern workplace, Sandrine Morris, who represented St Catherine North Central, lamented that women in rural areas especially have limited access to these institutions.
“To this end, we propose Jamaican Government implement affirmative action mechanics which will see the implementation of a TVET centre in every constituency in Jamaica and that these centres have no barriers for women in terms of cost, meaning it should not be too expensive, and all women should access any course that they want to do, even if, traditionally, it is not associated with them,” she said.
Morris reasoned that such an increase in access will result in “one of the greatest transformations of women and the economy in Jamaica”.
Clarendon South Western representative Aksania Morris said that the “unhindered access to education and training” is needed for Jamaica to effectively participate globally.
Meanwhile, Leader of the House Haijah Spence wants TVET subjects to be compulsory in all schools for Jamaica to be able to compete on the global market.
“As the world is becoming more digital, today, more than ever, we need all facets of the economy and all branches of the Government to work together to truly ensure that no one is left behind especially our women and our young girls,” Spence said.
Similar sentiments were shared by St Elizabeth South Western representative Resheda Campbell.
“Our women and girls not being involved in digital transformation is a major problem in the school and in the working world. It, therefore, means that we need to establish a foundation in our schools at all levels and of all types – schools that [cater] for women, men, girls and boys and people with disabilities because they, too, have their say in digital transformation and will not be excluded,” she said.
Underpinning the gap of women in involvement in the TVET industry is gender equality, argued Amelia Fearon, leader of Opposition business. However, she contends that the issue will not be resolved unless the Government makes a deliberate effort to resocialise Jamaicans.
“In order for real change to take place, we must start with grassroots resocialisation. It is high time we employ social workers to go into communities, especially the vulnerable ones, to have sessions with young women and girls – even boys, too – so they can understand that no ceiling should be put over either gender. We haffi bend di tree from it young,” she said.
According to the World Economic Forum 2021 Gender Gap Report, Jamaica ranks 40 out of 156 countries making progress towards achieving gender parity.
The YWiL parliamentary sitting is hosted by the Parliament of Jamaica in collaboration with ParlAmericas and the Caribbean Women in Leadership. It culminates the YWiL initiative, a programme aimed at cultivating young women’s interest in public leadership. It is designed to equip young women ages 18 to 25, with the requisite knowledge, skills and networks for their work as current and future leaders.