“Now we know the prices of our products and how the markets function. Middlemen are no longer able to cheat us,” says Afed Gad Hassan from Egypt, describing the benefits of entrepreneur training provided for women. She is one of the 1 200 Egyptian and Tunisian women in disadvantaged position who have received working-life training focusing on women’s issues in 2013–2017. The training has helped to strengthen women’s cooperatives. In an increasing number of households, women’s work is a source of extra income, which is used for improving the family’s standard of living and financing children’s schooling.
In the Middle East and in North Africa, women’s employment rates remain extremely low. In Tunisia and Egypt, only one woman in four is in working life even though young women account for a relatively large proportion of highly educated individuals. Finland has supported women’s access to the labour market in cooperation with the International Labour Organization ILO since 2012. As part of the project, training courses have been arranged, and labour market organizations have also received training in gender equality issues, there have been analyses of gender equality matters relevant to working life to support national decision-making, and labour market agencies have been provided with recommendations concerning women’s rights and status.
Photo: Badra Alawa/ILO, graphics: Juho Hiilivirta