Patterns of and Factors Undermining Female Participation in Hard Trades under Tanzania’s Vocational Education and Training System
Keywords:Female, Gender, Vocational Education, Hard Trades, Tanzania
This study reports the findings on female participation in hard trades under Tanzania’s Vocational Education and Training (VET). This qualitative research involved 72 participants including females’ trainees, instructors, employers and principals. It used semi-structured interview and Focus Group Discussion to collect data, which was subjected to content analysis. Participation patterns indicated far lower female participation in hard than soft trades. The study established the main contributory factors to this lopsided female gender representation in hard trades in Tanzania as gender role stereotyping, employers’ reluctance, lack of role models, absence of formal career guidance and counselling services, as well as gender-based curriculum materials. The study, therefore, recommends for the change in mindset among female aspirants in attitude towards hard trades to increase their participation while society should embrace positive perceptions of the abilities of females to pursue hard trades. VET centres should also employ female instructors in hard trades to serve as role models to encourage other females to opt for hard trades. Finally, VET instructors should encourage female trainees to participate in hard trades.
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