The current high unemployment rates among men in MENA countries make it harder for women to compete in male-dominated job markets, and women's unemployment rates are higher than those of men in the region. In Saudi Arabia, where Saudi women account for only 7 percent of the labor force, the unemployment rate for women in 1999 was 16 percent, more than double the unemployment rate for men. 18 In 2000, the unemployment rate among urban Iranian women was 25 percent, compared with 16 percent for men; in rural areas of the country, women's unemployment reached 20 percent, versus 17 percent for men. 19 Improving the quality of education, providing more vocational training, developing job-creating programs, and removing obstacles to women's entrepreneurship can help alleviate the high rates of female unemployment.
Education is a lifeline for children in crisis
For children in emergencies, education is lifesaving. Schools give children stability and structure to help cope with the trauma they have experienced. Schools can protect children from the physical dangers around them, including abuse, exploitation and recruitment into armed groups. In many cases, schools also provide children with other lifesaving interventions, such as food, water, sanitation and health.
Parents and children affected by crisis consistently name education as one of their top priorities. Because when children get an education, despite circumstances, whole societies benefit: education can boost economic growth, reduce poverty and inequality. Education also contributes to restoring peace and stability.
Despite the enormous benefits to children, education is often the first service suspended and the last service restored in crisis-affected communities.
Education accounts for less than 2 per cent of total humanitarian aid.
Funding is not the only thing that falls short: There are not enough trained staff to meet children’s educational needs in emergencies, not enough data to get an accurate picture of the situation, and not enough coordination among all the actors involved in humanitarian response.
UNICEF’s work in emergencies
UNICEF works to deliver uninterrupted learning for every child affected by humanitarian crises.
We work to provide learning spaces that are safe, available, suitable for children and equipped with water and sanitation facilities. We work to make sure that while in school, children can learn, despite their circumstances. We provide teachers with training and learning materials. We help children develop skills to deal with disaster as well as reduce risk exposure. We work with teachers, parents and the community to assure that children get the care and love they need in these circumstances. We work with governments to include disaster risk reduction programmes in their planning.
UNICEF strongly advocates for the right to education and protecting education.
We call for protective learning environments and support governments as they endorse and implement the Safe Schools Declaration and Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict.
We carry out much of our work through global and national partnerships. Read about UNICEF’s partnership with the Education Cannot Wait .