Examining skill gaps and participation of young women in the food processing industry in South Sulawesi

gender gap

The economic gender gap and the need to improve employment opportunities for young people are two major challenges in the province of South Sulawesi, Indonesia and the PAIR study identifies several contributing factors.


The research focuses on the current situation of young women in the area, their aspirations for employment and the demands of employers.

There is a gender stereotype in South Sulawesi that men are more likely to be employed in high-level positions and in jobs that require technical skills as business owners or employers tend to associate men with higher competence and capacity.

This gender gap is also perpetuated by the lack of technical skills among many young women. Many of them want to own small businesses or home industries which, according to social norms, would allow them to earn income while fulfilling their household obligations and don’t require them to be trained in technical skills despite the fact that there is a high demand for skilled workers in the food production industry.

The report suggests that,

  • Vocational education and training providers could play a critical role in addressing the mismatch between the skills possessed by the young people and those required by employers.
  • There is a mismatch between the skills sought by young women and those needed by employers.
  • There are some crucial aspects that need to be taken into account when discussing the current policy debate on the mismatch between the skills of young women and the available job opportunities especially in the food production industry.
  • More than half of the young women surveyed were interested in food processing training, indicating that they would like to start their own business.

Click here to read the full report, ‘Examining skill gaps and participation of young women in the food processing industry in South Sulawesi’

Although this study is based on a small and non-representative sample, we believe that key conclusions can be drawn that can contribute to the ongoing policy discourse as reflected in our recommendations.

  • Improve employer engagement to ensure vocational education and training responsiveness.
  • Improve specific training in vocational schools.
  • Develop women empowerment-specific curricula, especially in vocational schools.
  • Increase campaigns to motivate change.
  • Develop training centres at the village level or through online platforms.
  • Expand infrastructure for people with disabilities.

Feature image by PAIR.