BT partnership helping close the gap for women to secure more resilient futures

In the lead up to World Youth Skills Day 2022 on 15 July, the world’s focus will be on equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship

In India, young women and girls in particular face ongoing challenges in building the skills and competencies that will be in demand so they can become financially we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Expectations and limitations set by society on young women, lack of awareness and poor socio-economic conditions are the top reasons preventing young women from accessing the right skills and job opportunities of their choice, leading to their financial exclusion.

Only three out of ten women with tertiary education are active in the labour force in India as the education curriculums rarely address technical and non-technical skills employers value most.[1]

The growth aspirations of a fast-growing economy like India rests on the country's ability to provide women and girls with the access to opportunities in education, skilling, entrepreneurship, and employment. Closing this gap is vital to generate positive change and innovation.

And that’s exactly what a partnership between BT and the British Asian Trust is doing as it transforms the lives of thousands of girls and young women across India like that of Mausam.

[1] Arundhati Gupta, India should leverage digital mentoring to increase women’s workforce participation, Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database


Giving women like Mausam opportunities

Mausam’s father, a daily wage worker, worked tirelessly to make ends meet but his monthly income of INR 8,000 was often insufficient to provide for a family of seven. When she reached the age of 17, Mausam wanted to contribute to her family’s income but didn’t know how to find a job given her limited education and lack of resources.

Thanks to BT’s partnership with the British Asian Trust, she enrolled in a two-month computer course, which proved to be a turning point for her and her family.   

The skills she learnt helped her secure a job as a computer assistant with a tractor dealership, earning a salary of INR 10,000 per month.


BT Partnership Helping Close The Gap For Women To Secure More Resilient Futures

“I am glad to be able to support my family. My father was hesitant to seek my help initially, but my mother convinced him to allow me to upskill and get a job. 

Not only has the programme helped Mausam secure a job, she feels more empowered.

“I believe that girls are as capable as boys, and vocational training programmes can help them to start a career or explore other livelihood opportunities.” Mausam said.   

Previously, Mausam would have been expected to get married, but her family now want to support her in building a career.  

Mausam’s story is a great example of how a little support can change lives dramatically, empowering young women to achieve better agency and autonomy, education, health choices and employability through digital skills and technology.

Through our network of delivery partners across the country, BT and the British Asian Trust have been helping young women stay in school, building their understanding of self, creating safe spaces, fostering career aspirations, enhancing life-skills, improving access to education and health rights, and providing mentorship. 


Using innovative models to reach young women

The BT and the British Asian Trust partnership is delivered with seven on-ground partners - ETASHA, Going to School, Breakthrough India, Mentor Together, IT for Change, Katha and People for Action.

These NGO partners identified skills that are needed across sectors - communication, emotional regulation, building healthy relationships, digital marketing, problem-solving, project management and have been finding innovative ways to meet the needs of girls and young women in the programme. 

For example, one initiative is bridging the gender gap in STEM education and digital skills for adolescent girls in Kolkata’s government schools through People for Action’s STEM:CODE programme with 83.5% of 4,234 girls now adept in using technology, primarily smart phones and apps to learn and upskill.   

The ETASHA Society’s Spreading Wings programme has helped many young girls pursue their aspirations. The programme also started India’s first ever smart phone library to provide access to job-linked training and vocational skills to youth from low-income backgrounds in Haryana.  

A digital skills channel called Map of Me, featuring video content that allows adolescent girls to explore and learn about the various career and entrepreneurial options, is being run by Going to School. Map of Me was broadcast on TV and reached nearly five million people. Each episode addressed a particular life or entrepreneurial skill for adolescents such as self-defense, finance and money management, and digital upskilling. 

Another programme by Mentor Together connects adolescents with inspiring mentors to help them advance their career paths. It reported 94% of mentees saw an improvement in the social, career and learning capital (access to new resources, information, opportunities, people) after being mentored.   


Mentoring by BT employees provides real life skills

BT employees are also contributing to successful outcomes by mentoring girls and young women in the programme. Their expertise in information and communications technology, innovation and business skills is opening minds and doors.

Recently BT volunteers held a mentoring session on 'Coding as a career' to motivate more girls to take up STEM subjects.

Ashutosh Sharma, Director – Model Office Operations, guided nine young women from STEM backgrounds on skills that could help build a successful career in the technology industry - cloud, analytics, artificial intelligence, and blockchain. They discussed non-technical skills that could help them achieve career goals, problem-solving techniques, placement leads and interview tips.

Kapil Khaneja, CSS Director and India Site Lead, BT Global Business, guided 52 women on skills to build a successful career with advice on time management and other important skills needed to succeed in fast-paced industries.

In addition, hundreds of BT colleagues are virtually mentoring young women as part of the Mentor To Go programme helping them advance their education and careers.  

Watch this space for more updates on how we’re supporting girls and young women in the months ahead!