March 2017

Skills have no gender

Member organizations of WorldSkills have been voicing their commitment to the equality agenda, throughout International Women’s Day.  Forty five Members, from across the globe, have stated their support for the UN Women campaign HeForShe. This follows the endorsement of HeForShe at the WorldSkills General Assembly in Niagara Falls last year.

“One of the challenges, is that there are not enough women in skills, trades and technologies”, said the CEO of WorldSkills, David Hoey. “I can assure you that it is one of the best career opportunities. So to all women, please have a look, consider a career, and you will be amazed at the opportunities.”

Global commitment to HeForShe

As a global movement that promotes access to vocational skills, WorldSkills believes that skills have no gender and that inequality in the workplace must be eradicated.

“We aim to speak up for women, for young women and for girls,” said the President of WorldSkills, Simon Bartley. “So, that they can feel empowered to take any career choice that they wish irrespective of the fact that that might be in an area that historically they may not have considered.”

Skills For All - profiles of leading female skilled professionals

Plumber Albertina Shitalangaho, Namibia

An African proverb sums up Albertina Shitalangaho’s outlook on the importance of women being provided with the same opportunities to learn, work, and contribute as men, “If you educate a man, you educate an individual. If you educate a woman, you educate a family”.

Car Painter Rebecca Wilson, UK

A love of cars outstripped life in the classroom for Rebecca Wilson, who pursued one of the most stereotypically male-dominated jobs imaginable – and found that gender is irrelevant.

Painter Shan-Shin, Chinese Taipei

The can-do mindset of National Skills champion Shan-Shin is an example to others – as she teaches them how positivity leads to potential being realized.

Aircraft Maintenance Technician Caroline Söderqvist, Sweden

Many people’s jobs revolve around rotas – for Caroline Söderqvist, it’s more about rotors.

Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technician Roudha Ali Ibrahim Ali, UAE

Challenging herself and the supposed norms surrounding gender and the workplace, while also serving her nation, were the key factors that persuaded Roudha Ali Ibrahim Ali to set her sights on competing in WorldSkills, when it is hosted in her home country.

Stonemason Charlotte Martin, Belgium

Honouring the past is how Charlotte Martin sees her future – with her ambitions literally set in stone.

Joiner Justina Ashiyana, Namibia

As a joiner not just by trade, but also by nature, Justina Ashiyana was naturally attracted to participating in skills competitions – and she quickly found that they can open doors and horizons.

Car Painter Alex Banks, New Zealand

Petrolhead painter Alex Banks is combining her love of cars and creativity to make her mark in a male-dominated industry.

Graphic Designer Sobheya Musallam, Palestine

Listening to Sobheya Musallam’s views on women in the workplace in her home country of Palestine you hear an uplifting story of equality being embraced and advanced.

Cabinetmaker Dara Howlett, Ireland

When Dara Howlett took part in a WorldSkills Competition last year, she realised that what she really wanted to do was work with wood.

Aircraft Maintenance Technician Soila Korhonen, Finland

Soila Korhonen can testify to the fact that women sometimes struggle to find where opportunities lie – having found a gateway to her chosen profession purely through her own initiative, and the internet.

Heavy Vehicle Maintenance Technician Louise Azzopardi, Australia

An interest that began with helping out on the family farm, has allowed Louise Azzopardi to fix her sights on a future career – with the emphasis on ‘fix’.
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