How best to ensure women's empowerment?

Building competences and skills for economic inclusion and resilience

The upholding and exercising of rights and personal freedoms are an indication of the health of a society, its democracy and economy. Gender inclusion is a key component.

Empowering all citizens to claim and exert their rights, is a cross-cutting policy domain. War and political strife, as we are witnessing in Ukraine, creates multiple obstacles that affect women in specific ways requiring different approaches to respecting rights and combatting discrimination and violence.

Complex policy measures and actions are needed to respond to the unique situations that women face and to ensure they have the competences and skills, and the recognition of existing skills in their displacement, to allow them to become or to remain economically viable. Social and economic inclusion are essential for their safety, survival and renewal, and for the protection of their children.

EU policy informing ETF work in external relations

The European Union’s Gender Equality Strategy 2020 – 25 sets out clear policy objectives and actions for gender equality and women’s empowerment. Its objectives are reflected in the EU's Gender Action Plan III which makes the promotion of gender equality a priority of all external policies. 

The Gender Equality Strategy pursues a dual approach of targeted actions and gender mainstreaming that integrates a gender perspective at all stages of the policy process taking account of intersectionality which is a horizontal principle for implementation that recognises how systems of inequality, for example gender and ethnicity, intersect creating a specific dynamic and challenges.

Our work is informed by EU policy and tools which are adapted to each country’s unique situation: socially-culturally, economically and historically. Tools are necessary to support practitioners and policymakers to improve education and skills development systems, and are applicable still in conflict-ridden and fragile contexts.

Indeed, we have witnessed that notwithstanding the ongoing war, our stakeholders and counterparts in Ukraine are continuing to implement and engage in their use through their involvement, as far as possible, in ETF projects and activities. We stand with Ukraine.

Supporting resilience

In 2018, the EU adopted a revised recommendation on key competences for lifelong learning, and the development of competence frameworks. These include the Digital Competence Framework (DigCom), the Entrepreneurship Competence Framework (EntreCom), and, the European Framework for the Personal, Social and Learning to Learn Key Competence (LifeComp). Building resilience is one of the outstanding features of LifeComp.

The ETF’s campaign in 2021 showed just how important it is to bolster learner resilience in the face of societal volatility and vulnerability with the help of these tools which complement challenges to power structures that seek to maintain inequality and the status quo.

To be empowered and to nurture resilience, women need the necessary space and channels to use their voice and to be heard, especially so at times of oppression and trauma. The ETF is continually working throughout its campaigns to support their voice. Find out more from our campaign page Education has no gender

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