Women's productive potential continues to be underutilized due to the entrenched inequality, prevalence of gendered roles and gender based segregations in the job market. A dated but relevant statistic used to illustrate the extent of gender inequality indicates "Women provide 66% of the world's work, produce 50% of the food, but earn only 10% of the income and own 1% of the property".
This inequality in the world of work between women and men has increased over years; recent statistics from United Nations report that only half the women of working age are in the global labour force as compared to 77% of men. These women earn on average only 60 to 75 per cent of men's wages as they are more likely to be engaged in low-productive activities in the informal sector.
The gendered nature of skilling, women's lower exposure to technical skills and information and communication technology (ICT) ensures that they are systematically deprived of careers in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) which may ensure more productive and decent jobs, better wealth and social capital. In the event of challenges like stagnating job market and rising unemployment levels, there is need to move beyond the traditional conservative approaches to skilling and livelihood.
This International Conference aims to create a platform to deliberate on how to overcome existing gender disparities in learning opportunities and skills to ensure equitable technical and transferable skills (Target 4.4 of SDG 4), access to employment and decent jobs (as outlined in SDG 8). To this end, it aims to make visible and learn from non-traditional livelihoods (NTL) for women that have the potential to challenge gendered notions of work and skilling, create mobility and remunerative income that help in bolstering women's self-worth, dignity and identity.
Non Traditional Livelihood refers to livelihood practices that help women break stereotypes emerging from the intersections of gender, caste, class, religion, sexual orientation, disabilities and other marginalities and oppressive structures, within a dynamic context of space and time. NTL increases the set of viable livelihood choices available to women and give them access and control over skills, technology, market, mobility and resources. It creates economic stability along with psychological, social and political empowerment. Some examples of the same include training women to become drivers, masons, electricians etc.