THE VISION BOARD

Tech Voc IRL: Challenges Women In Tech-Voc Face In Their Employment

Kilala ang technical vocational education as one of the fastest and easiest ways to earn a certification for a particular type of skill. Ginagamit din ito ng ibang tao para mas mapadali ang process of going abroad, while some train in tech-voc para magtayo ng business in the future. Because of this, marami ang pumipili sa tech voc as a good alternative to the traditional 4-year college track.

Despite this distinction, maraming tech voc graduates pa rin ang naghihirap and are facing the difficult realities of applying for a job. This is especially true para sa mga babaeng nasa non-traditional tech-voc courses, like Caloy (35 years old) and Janice (34 years old) na parehong graduates ng Electronic Product Assembly Servicing (EPAS) NCII. 

In this article, we’ll highlight some of the challenges that women in tech-voc face during their job applications and in their employment situations through the point-of-view of both Caloy and Janice, and what they think women in tech-voc need from society, peers, and respective families.

On Biases and Stereotypes

May iba’t ibang biases at gender stereotypes na hindi pa rin maiiwasan sa tech voc. These include the thinking that tech-voc programs are inherently structured for the male population, that women in tech-voc have limited job opportunities after training, and that women are inclined to take tech-voc so they can fulfill their roles as homemakers.

For Janice, however, being a woman in a male-dominated field means little to her: “Para sa akin, as long as kumpleto ang paa at kamay ko, hindi naman basehan ang gender sa trabaho.”

Even though Janice feels unhindered, it’s a reality that being a woman in a male-dominated field means that a potential employer may cast doubts upon your skill or credibility as a technician. This is true for Caloy and their EPAS NCII batch, which had 3 women out of 13 males. Si Caloy at ang kanyang mga ka-batch na babae ay nahirapan mag-apply bilang technicians.

“Sa klase namin, wala kaming problema sa mga lalaking classmates. Nagkaroon lang ng problema nung mag-aaply na sa trabaho as technicians. Parang may doubt ‘yung employers if kaya ba namin gawin ‘yung trabaho,” Caloy said. Some employers would make them demonstrate their skills first as part of the application process while the male counterparts would not have to undergo this demo process.

In a field like EPAS, gender limitations do exist. But for both Caloy and Janice, even though they encounter manifestations of these gender biases in their chosen field, they do not feel limited by it. In fact, they feel more empowered to pursue their career aspirations.

Janice feels fulfilled now for having taken the EPAS NCII because she has found a job in Taiwan as a technician. “Masaya kasi na-enjoy ko talaga ang training sa TESDA. Kahit pumasok ako with zero knowledge talaga, na-enjoy ko yung course and proud din ako na nagamit ko siya as stepping stone sa gusto ko na trabaho ngayon sa abroad.”

For Caloy, she is furthering her aspirations to build a repair shop in her hometown and continue her father’s automotive business when she saves up enough money for capital.

For both these women in a male-dominated field, hindi hadlang ang gender limitations na dulot ng stereotyping and biases. They aim to pursue every working-class Filipino’s dream: to be able to have enough means to live comfortably and support their family.

The tech-voc industry in the Philippines is still far from perfect in addressing these gender issues that affect women’s employment after their tech-voc training. In order for women to truly thrive, it’s important to have a robust and inclusive system for employment and livelihood opportunities. Kailangan din ang patuloy na pagsuporta ng mga kamag-anak at kaibigan na makakasama nila sa kanilang learning journey. This would also encourage and empower those who are thinking of getting a tech-voc education and training to really go for it, and minimize the gap in the women-to-men ratio in the field.

After all, anyone is capable of turning their dreams into reality, anuman ang gender nila. Here’s to lifting each other up, tech voc besties!

Edukasyon.ph and Investing in Women are committed to providing a safe space for everyone. If you are in need of support due to experiencing gender-based discrimination or violence in the home, school, or workplace, please contact the following hotlines below.

  • Inter-Agency Council on Violence Against Women and their Children: 09178671907 / 09178748961
  • Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD): (02) 931-8101 to 07
  • Philippine National Police (PNP) Hotline: 177 / (8)723-0401
  • PNP-Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC):  (02) 8532-6690
  • Aleng Pulis Hotline: 0919 777 7377
  • NBI Violence Against Women and Children: vawcd@nbi.gov.ph

 

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