Plan International Asia’s Regional Director profiles a few up-and-coming young females in Asia, who after receiving job-oriented vocational skills and training, are harnessing their motivation, enthusiasm and skills to pursue their professional and personal aspirations.
Equal economic opportunities and an environment of an inclusive workforce provides a space for youth, especially young girls and disadvantaged children, to explore their interests and expand their potential.
The Asian Development Bank* reveals that by eliminating gender gaps and increasing women’s access to employment, Asia and the Pacific could earn up to $40 billion per year.
Plan International is committed to removing barriers for youth, particularly girls, to ensure they can attain the right skills and successfully transition into decent work, thus stalling a continued cycle of poverty and exclusion.
We are recognizing female youth in Asia, like Rotha, Len and Hong, who have persevered and continued to pursue education and employment opportunities despite challenging social norms and gender stereotypes.
With economic opportunities, these girls are serving as role models, proving that equal opportunities, enthusiasm and perseverance, and a touch of proper guidance can help these young women make a living for themselves.
Skills of Interests
Rotha is one of 2,200 participants in Cambodia who actively took part in a vocational training for disadvantaged young people, initiated by Plan International.
She is the second-to-youngest in her family, living with four sisters and one brother in rural Cambodia. Dependent on farming as their sole income source, irregular and insufficient rainfall over the past 5 to 6 years has worsened the economic conditions for their family.
“I chose the electronics course because I thought that not many people would be interested in it, even though there was a market for the job. I was offered a job after I finished the four-month training course,” says 18-year-old Rotha.
The project not only equipped participants with skills in their areas of interest, such as electronics, tailoring, hospitality, and motorbike repairing, but also provided female youth with decent work opportunities through partners and other qualified workplaces.
About 69% of the training participants were offered a job after the training and 2-month internship.
Through her new role, Rotha now earns $110 USD per month, of which, 65% is sent home to support her family. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in electronics in Siem Reap provincial town.
Len (18) was born and raised in a low-income family of five in Thua Thien Hue district, Vietnam. Her parents struggled to earn a living, and as her siblings were too small to assist the family, Len was forced to support her family from a very young age.
Her experience in the workforce changed drastically when she was exploited and treated poorly by one of her employers at a local salon.
With the money, I can help my mother and use the rest to support myself. I’m very happy
After being approached by Plan International’s project to support street and working children in Thua Thien Hue district, Len was introduced to another salon and received proper vocational training under a renowned hair stylist.
Following four months of guidance and dedication, she was promoted as a paid employee and a newfound title: ‘Junior Hairdresser’.
“At the new salon, I get paid around $90 USD per month. With the money, I can help my mother and use the rest to support myself. I’m very happy,” Len said.
Li Hong, one of the trainees from Gansu province, China, shared that with the help of Plan International's Beijing Migrant Youth Employment Project, she is able to launch her career as a nanny.
"4,500 yuan ($750 USD) per month is a very handsome salary for me to support my family,” says Hong. "I hope more migrant women can benefit from this training."
The Project, conducted by Plan International China and its local NGO partner – Rural Women – provides migrant youth, especially women, with training courses on old-age nursing, childcare, life skills and job preparation. Many of the women migrate from other parts of the country to China’s urban areas in search of work.
The training provides them with skills so that they can acquire the necessary job experience and social skills to thrive in the city. Running from 2016 – 2019, the project will provide training to 900 migrants (aged 16 to 40).
Tackling Youth Unemployment
In 2016, the International Labour Organization (ILO) reported that of the 71 million unemployed youth in the world, 61.2 million derived from emerging and developing countries.
With an insufficient link between training facilities, education opportunities and labour-demands in workforce, many youth, particularly girls, continue to find themselves unemployed or unable to find productive, decent and non-hazardous work.
Technical and vocational training and soft skills development is one of the most effective ways to decrease the number of unemployed youth and provide personal and professional opportunities for young people on the move.
Even further, pushing for inclusive economies, where investments are made to ensure girls are afforded equal opportunities to economic development, will only yield in greater gender equity and sustainable social and economic development.
young females in Asia deserve the opportunity to become financially independent
As demonstrated by Rotha, Hong and Len, young females in Asia deserve the opportunity to become financially independent, achieve their professional aspirations and secure meaningful work opportunities. Let’s help these women to overcome the barriers that restrict them from fair and equal employment opportunities and appreciate and promote the professions that welcomes or, even more so, values differences.
Learn more about Plan International's Youth Employment Solutions programme, where more than 60,000 young people have acquired the skills necessary to be job ready.
*Plan International is not responsible for content on external websites.