Eastern Europe and Central Asia countries discuss gender equality in the youth labour market

News | 06 July 2019
KAZAN, RUSSIAN FEDERATION (ILO News) - On 2-5 July, a sub-regional conference brought together  governments, workers and employers’ representatives from nine countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia,  BRICS countries, as well as ILO Moscow and ILO Geneva officials and international experts, discussed how to promote and achieve gender equality in the youth labour market.

Substantial differences between labour participation employment rates and incomes of young women and men throughout the region are visible. The regional report “Gender and youth employment in the Commonwealth of Independent States” submitted to the conference for discussion noted that whilst gender gaps in educational attainment are not – typically – a major issue in the region, the subjects studied by young men and young women are. Specifically, there is a need to increase the involvement of young women in STEM (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) subjects.

Sectorial and occupational segregation amongst young women and men is also evident in the region and it may in part be attributed to the aforementioned gender differences during education. The conference discussed a wide range of policies and programmes to address gender gaps in employment, from removing discriminatory practices in the labour market to providing support to young mothers.

The meeting in Kazan was the 9th sub-regional conference organized by the ILO Project “Partnerships for Youth Employment in the CIS",  implemented by ILO Moscow with the financial support of the Russian company LUKOIL. The participating countries included Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan as well as China.

The conference was opened  by the State Duma Deputy, member of the Committee on Labour, Social Policy and Veterans Affairs Olga Pavlova and the Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Protection of the Republic of Tatarstan Elmira Zaripova. They stressed the importance of effective youth employment policies that facilitate youth transition from school to work and increase young women’s access to qualifications that are in demand in the labour market.

The conference was also an opportunity to discuss the recently approved ILO Centenary Declaration. Mikhail Pouchkin, ILO Moscow Senior Employment Specialist, presented the Global Report on the Future of Work. A special session was dedicated to potential institutional and policy implications of the future of work agenda on employment services for youth.

"For us, it is very important to continue participating in the ILO activities and  exchange experience and good practices of the Russian Federation in the field of youth employment promotion and further develop our regional cooperation with CIS countries," said Elza Nakhatinova, Deputy Head of the Directorate of Inspection, Monitoring and Employment Projects,  Federal Service of Labour and Employment (ROSTRUD).

Representatives from Azerbaijan, Russian Federation, and Uzbekistan presented the progress made on youth employment promotion. The meeting benefitted from sharing good practices inside and outside the region, such as Chinese and European Union experiences on mainstreaming gender approach into active labour market programmes relevant for youth.

Fanur Shaykhislamov, Deputy Minister for Family, Labour and Social Protection of the Republic of Bashkortostan said that the conference “ gives a unique opportunity to exchange and later implement good practices learnt from other countries and regions. We also appreciate that our experience can be useful for others ”.

“It was very helpful to  learn more about  Russia’s experience of promoting  cooperation between the School, VET centres and the higher education system and regional governments and enterprises”, - said Arman Udumyan,  Deputy Minister for Labour and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia.

At the final panel discussion moderated by Andrey Pudov, State Secretary, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Protection of the Russian Federation, the participants discussed federal initiatives for closing gaps between the education sector and the world of work.

The conference benefited from the participation of the ILO Employers’ and Workers’ Specialists, Vladimir Curovic and Gocha Aleksandria, who facilitated tripartite discussions for setting the agenda for the next regional meeting on the future of work and youth employment.

Ramiro Pizarro, the ILO Moscow project manager, expressed his satisfaction with the conference results. The participants enhanced their skills and abilities to design and implement gender sensitive employment programs addressing issues of values, attitudes and motivations in order support young women access to decent work.

Rustam Nigmatullin, First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Tatarstan, invited the participants to take part in the WorldSkills competition that will be held in Kazan in August 2019.