We the women

Learning pathways empowering women

Since the European Union was conceived and then realised, one of the main objectives has been to grow together. It is a goal that does not stop at the borders of the Member States but also includes our neighbourhood. Together with the partner countries, we are committed to developing people’s human capital. We can only reiterate our support for Ukraine and its brave inhabitants, unjustly attacked by Russia.

Key competences

Countries would not exist without the people who live in them or their skills building societies and economies. Each person and each skill is unique and requires special attention. Identifying the skills best suited to the local economy and the evolving labour market is only the first step in realising people's potential and enabling all nations to grow together in peace and prosperity. To this end, the European Commission has developed the  Key Competences Framework which was revised in 2018 as a recommendation on key competences for lifelong learning, with the development of competence frameworks.

What are key competences? They represent eight domains considered necessary for all members of a knowledge-based, inclusive society and essential for lifelong learning. These areas are:

  • Literacy. Strengthening literacy as a basis for further learning and communication in different societal and cultural contexts.
  • Languages. Enhancing the ability to use a variety of languages to be active and better cope with the challenges of today’s multilingual and diverse societies.
  • Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Focusing on improving the acquisition of these competences to nurture scientific understanding.
  • Digital. Strengthening the confidence and critical use of digital technology, including coding and programming, safety and citizenship-related aspects.
  • Personal, social and learning. Improving the skills necessary to participate in an active social life.
  • Civic. Stressing the importance of democratic participation, European values, sustainable development and media literacy.
  • Entrepreneurship. Enhancing entrepreneurial attitudes to unlock personal potential, creativity and self-initiative.
  • Cultural awareness and expression. Increasing intercultural skills and the ability to express ideas in a variety of ways and contexts.

Women's empowerment

Nevertheless, focusing on individuals and their competences brings to light those social inequalities that still exist today. Gender inequality is not only an obstacle for women to self-fulfilment, social and economic inclusion but also a socio-economic loss for societies. Their skills are not exploited, and often - due to stereotypes or poor representation, they hold positions below their capabilities or are not paid as much as their male colleagues.

Here at the European Training Foundation, we care about women's empowerment. We are constantly working to reduce the labour market barriers for women. Our goals follow the roadmap of the Sustainable Development Goals (especially SDG5) and the Gender Action Plan (GAP III). Specifically, and especially with regard to  EU external action, five pillars guide policy choices in the period 2021-25:

  1. 85% of all new actions throughout external relations will contribute to gender equality and women's empowerment by 2025.
  2. Shared strategic vision and close cooperation with the Member States and partners at multilateral, regional and country levels.
  3. GAP III calls for accelerating progress, focusing on the key thematic areas of engagement.
  4. Leading by example.
  5. Measuring results.

The ETF's strategy is to strengthen women's entrepreneurship by creating new pathways to strategic skills and integrating gender mainstreaming into our policy advice. We do this through research, field studies and forums; five years ago, we organised a women's entrepreneurship event in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital now under siege. In what seems like a completely different city and time, the ETF organised a laboratory that brought together policymakers, women entrepreneurs and business associations.

This unjustified aggression will not stop women's hard-won achievements and our commitment to continue to support them.

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