LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, announced today that they will be investing $500,000 (INR3.88 crore) in a three-year, regional partnership with UN Women – the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality – to advance women’s economic empowerment. The project will launch a pilot in Maharashtra, India to cultivate the digital, soft and employability skills of 2,000 women and present them with a range of career-building opportunities through job fairs, mentoring sessions and peer-to-peer networks. The collaboration will digitally upskill women affording them greater access to jobs and equipping them to fully participate in the formal economy.
A disproportionate number of women lack basic access to the Internet. Addressing gender-responsive technology policymaking in the Asia-Pacific region is crucial given in Asia, 54.6 per cent of men have access to the internet, compared to 41.3 per cent of women. This represents a 32 per cent gender gap. According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), between 2013 and 2017, the gender gap in Asia grew from 17 per cent to 24 per cent. Women and girls often do not have the same access to education, or type of education, as men and boys do, which sometimes leaves them with decreased digital skills, literacy, and consequentially less economic opportunities in an increasingly digital world. In fact, the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 has only widened this opportunity gap for women and girls in the past two years.
With this partnership, LinkedIn and UN Women will work together to close this gap, aiming to help the region and world achieve improved gender parity in the workforce.
The partnership will be guided by the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), a set of effective, actionable principles that guide businesses on how to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace and community.
As more businesses and professionals recognize the rewarding impact of gender-equal workplaces, we have the unique opportunity to help women become more employable and entrepreneurial in today’s digital era. We are delighted to partner with UN Women to jointly work towards improving female representation and professional diversity across the region’s workforce by investing in the upskilling and economic empowerment of women. By bringing women closer to the right skills and resources, we aspire to create a more equitable and all-inclusive talent landscape,” said Ashutosh Gupta, India Country Manager, LinkedIn.
UN Women and LinkedIn will leverage the LinkedIn platform and institutional expertise to convene partners to support women’s economic empowerment. Together, they will hold joint advocacy campaigns and events, as well as convene key partners from their respective networks to achieve broadly equal opportunities and outcomes for women and men at workplace. Additionally, UN Women will leverage its partnerships to offer young women with foot-in-the-door opportunities across industries, with a focus on operating the LinkedIn platform and building connections.
Access to quality education is critical to decent employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for women and girls. The aim of the LINK Women project, in partnership with LinkedIn, is to create a cadre of women who will acquire new digital and employability skills, leading to better jobs,” said Susan Ferguson, Country Representative, UN Women India.
After the 15-month pilot, UN Women and LinkedIn will incorporate lessons learned and evaluative feedback to improve the programmes where necessary and then scale it up to other Asia-Pacific countries with UN Women presence.