Girls and women in Pakistan face several persistent barriers to their empowerment, including limited educational opportunities, restrictive social norms and gender discrimination. These obstacles are especially severe for girls and women from underprivileged communities. Indeed, Pakistan has one of the highest gender gaps, ranking 148 out 149 on the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index. While women represent half of the country’s population, they are starkly underrepresented in the workforce. Pakistan is also ranked very low (146 out of 149 countries) in terms of women’s economic participation and opportunity: women’s labor force participation is a mere 26.3%, compared with 85.8% for men.
As the country and economy undergo the digital transformation, accessing work opportunities in the formal sector increasingly requires digital skills. The expanding ICT (Information and Communications Technology) sector is opening up employment opportunities, but the sector remains heavily male-dominated.
The SOLUTIONS WE'RE PROPOSING
W4’s field partner CodeGirls Pakistan, based in Karachi, provides girls and women (ages 15 to 30) with access to innovative, adapted IT training, thus promoting girls’ and women’s digital inclusion, their access to formal employment and their participation in the tech sector. The program, which does not require prior IT knowledge or experience, enables girls and women to benefit from a range of IT technical skills training, soft skills training and lessons and workshops covering subjects such as financial literacy, entrepreneurship, awareness about workplace harassment and HR law. Program participants are also able to learn from professionals working in IT, many of whom are women, offering the girls and women inspiring role models. The overall goal is to enable girls and women to acquire the requisite IT technical skills, soft skills and professional workplace knowledge they need to embark on a career in the tech sector, which, as CodeGirls underscores: “is an excellent equalizer, is relatively lucrative, has more opportunities and comparatively friendlier work policies for women.”
The training program is divided into three phases:
- 24 hours of non-coding (business & soft skills) workshops.
- 101 hours of tech training: Advanced Programming, Software Quality Assurance, WordPress Development, and Graphic Design.
- 24 hours of non-tech training: Work Readiness, Design Thinking, Business Communication and Freelancing.
- 125 hours of freelancing training to enable program participants to set up their own income-generating activities.
THE IMPACT OF YOUR GIVING
Your donation enables girls and women from low-income families in Karachi, Pakistan, to benefit from the unprecedented opportunity of IT, soft skills & professional training. Thanks to this program, girls and women can acquire the skillset they need to access formal employment, notably in the tech sector, or set up their own freelance activities or businesses. Across the world, the importance of women’s education, training and participation in formal employment, notably in the tech sector, is increasingly recognized. Your donation contributes to girls’ and women’s social and economic autonomy and empowerment; it enables women to improve their and their families’ living standards and contributes to a broader positive shift in mindsets and culture as women participate in formal employment and the tech sector.