Young Women Disrupt Male-Dominated Digital Sector with Plan Vietnam

The “Fit for Future” project launched to encourage girls and women to study and work in the technology sector.

"When holding the certificate of completion of the course, I feel that I was right when I decided to follow the advice and guidance of the teachers of REACH, choosing the graphic design course," shared a student during a closing ceremony of IT classes of Fit for the Future project on Feb.24.

Nguyen Thuy Hien is one of over 600 youths of the REACH Institute (females account for 34%) have successfully completed the courses within the project, implemented by Plan International in Vietnam and REACH.

By learning digital skills, girls will be able to fill the increasing number of tech jobs in Vietnam, closing the gender digital divide and helping girls to get equal.

More than 100 delegates attended the event held in person and online at various bridgeheads such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and Hai Duong.

Sharon Kane, country director of Plan International in Vietnam highlighted the national strategy for the next five years to strategically partner to empower two million girls, especially adolescent girls and young women, in Vietnam from 2020 to 2025.

According to her, Fit for the Future project, along with other projects, has been realizing Plan's commitment to promoting gender equality and empowering young women. With this project, Plan partnered with REACH and FPT Polytechnique College of Practice (FPOLY) to realize the goal of closing the gender gap in the information technology industry by supporting young women in vocational training.

With the sponsorship of Adecco Group Foundation, the Towards the Future project is implemented by two partners in the training field, REACH Institute and FPT Polytechnic College, from September 2018 to September 2022.

The project aims to support supporting marginalized young people, especially girls and women, so they can work in the technology sector in the future.

Despite the growing demand for information and communication technology professionals, women still trail their male counterparts in terms of pay, leadership roles, and representation in the digital sector.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021 suggests that only 14% of those working in cloud computing, 20% of engineers, and 32% of data and artificial intelligence professionals are women.

In addition to equipping with specialized knowledge designed close to the actual requirements of businesses, students are also equipped with knowledge and skills in English, communication skills, work readiness skills, cooperation and teamwork skills, to be ready to adapt to the professional office working environment.

Overcoming many challenges from their own difficult circumstances and the recent Covid-19 outbreak, nearly 650 students of REACH (females account for 34%) have successfully completed the courses.

In the difficult economic situation because of the pandemic, many businesses had to stop operating or reduce personnel, nearly 80% of the project's students after graduation found a job, the percentage of female students who landed a job even higher, over 90%.

These positive results are a testament to the commitment of REACH, the efforts of the students, especially the girls, in joining the field of information technology, breaking gender stereotypes in the field of information technology, which dominated by men.

“This can be said to be one of the most challenging courses that REACH has implemented over the past 15 years." Pham Thi Thanh Tam, REACH director shared.

"Learning IT is difficult for young people yet for young women it is even more difficult," she said, adding that with so many efforts to overcome social norms and stereotypes, the career path in IT industry has been opened for women.

The pandemic, difficulties in students' travel and accommodation, and the demanding labor market in general did not reduce the determination of REACH staff, teachers and students in the process of preparing to participate into the IT industry.

"During this time, we have always received the support, encouragement and flexibility of Plan, Adecco and the companions of businesses so that REACH can complete the courses and get the results like today from now on," Tam stressed.

At the closing ceremony for IT classes of Fit for the Future project.

On behalf of the students of the project, Nguyen Thuy Hien revealed her happiness after completing the course.

“Today is a historic milestone for me and the project students. When holding the certificate of completion of the course, I feel that I was right when I decided to follow the advice and guidance of the teachers of REACH, choosing the graphic design course. I am ready to become a graphic designer. I believe that the field of information technology is for everyone, anyone can succeed if they have the will to strive and constantly make efforts and learn.

She also expressed their deep gratitude to Adecco Group, Plan International in Vietnam, teachers at REACH, and businesses for their trust and support.

"They gave us the opportunity to study, work and help us be more confident in our own abilities”.