Gender Mainstreaming in Skills Development

Content Manager • 10 October 2019

      The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development offers an opportunity to put the world into a more sustainable path. Sustainable growth can only be achieved by successfully integrating women into the labour force. Providing women with the necessary skills to find a job is the first step towards enhancing women’s participation in the labour market, but for skills training to have a tangible impact, more action is required. What is needed is a comprehensive and holistic strategy that creates an enabling environment and offers equal opportunities to women.

     The guide, "Gender Mainstreaming in Skills Development: Guidance Paper and Tools" developed by UNDP, Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development (IICPSD) jointly with Disha, the UNDP-India Development Foundation partnership supported by IKEA Foundation aims to harness the transformative potential of gender mainstreaming in skills development by taking a holistic approach involving guidance and good practices at the policy, sector and implementation levels. The guide explores potential opportunities for gender mainstreaming in skills development in India – one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and home to a large youth population.

      A wide range of barriers lower the learning and employment prospects for women and girls in India, including unequal gender roles that cause women and girls to undertake most of the household and care duties, lack of sufficient flexible work opportunities, and family concerns for their security and safety. India is approached as a case study to analyse how the above challenges are encountered, and most importantly, explore innovative ways to address them.

       The guidance paper promotes a number of key practices:

  • Conducting awareness campaigns and sensitization training practices to bridge the gender divide in society and the workforce during the period when sourcing jobs and mobilizing trainees;
  • Sensitizing men and boys – who hold the majority among policymakers, sector leaders, employers, trainers and students – on gender equality and developing their relevant capacities to address various challenges women face in their integration into the economy;
  • Creating a comfortable and positive learning environment for women trainees through, for example, diverse teaching methods, infrastructure, women role models and gender sensitization of trainers;
  • Prioritizing training related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for women and girls and improving their soft/life skills for work in emerging sectors;
  • Enhancing women’s acquisition of practical and industry-relevant skills through internships, apprenticeships, on-the-job training and mentorship;
  • Empowering women through assessment and certification of skills that recognize women’s existing skills and competencies;
  • Building employment linkages for women, through partnerships with the private sector;
  • Identifying ‘glass ceilings’ and other unseen barriers that hamper career development for women regardless of their achievements or skills, and addressing them through introducing the right human resources policies and conducting accessibility audits at companies to ensure that women have equal chances for employment;
  • Providing post-placement support for women, e.g. integrating gender sensitization within the company culture, and supporting career. 


For more information, please see the full report attached below. 

The content was originally posted on

​​​​​​Photo Credit: UN Women Asia and the Pacific 


The views expressed in the blog and the report attached are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the SDG Philanthropy Platform. The SDG Philanthropy Platform is a global initiative that connects philanthropy with knowledge and networks that can deepen collaboration, leverage resources and sustain impact, driving SDG delivery within national development planning. It is led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA), and supported by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Ford Foundation, Oak Foundation, Brach Family Charitable Foundation, and many others.