Following the change, women’s enrollment rose to 65% on some courses, up from the usual 50-50 split between men and women.
Menna Fathy, 23, who lives in the Egyptian port city of Suez, some 130 km (80 miles) from the capital, said being able to access the training remotely had been an unexpected boon.
“If I had to travel to Cairo every day for a month it would have been draining. The online option was a blessing,” said Fathy, who found an insurance job at a bank soon after.
Even though private-sector employers have been badly affected by the pandemic and opportunities are scarce, there is still value in helping women gain skills today, di Florio said.
“We found a surge of youth and women who want to keep learning even if they know they’re not going to get a job tomorrow,” she said.
About 44% of women in the region cited limited policies on work-life balance as the main obstacle for keeping a job and said policies that let them work remotely and receive digital training were priorities, the McKinsey report found.
EFE’s trainees have been learning to market their skills online and use freelance platforms to find part-time work, helping connect women seeking flexible jobs with employers.
“The gig economy can really work for them,” di Florio said.
“But we need to make sure that they’re getting paid a living wage and that they have access to all potential opportunities and customers on those platforms.” (Reporting by Ban Barkawi //news.trust.org)