- Women may have left the workforce in large numbers during the pandemic, but their participation in online learning has increased since 2019, Coursera, an education website that enrolls online learners in college courses and professional certifications, said in his Women and Skills Report, released on September 9.
- According to Coursera, 37% of entry-level professional certificate registrations were from women in 2021, up from 25% in 2019. Additionally, 37% of STEM course registrations were from women (up from 31% in 2019). Half of all new learners this year were women, up from 45% in 2019.
- North America was the only region assessed with more female than male learners, at 51%, according to the larger Coursera study Global Skills Report. However, “emerging countries have seen the most dramatic year-over-year increases,” Coursera said in his summary of his research, noting that female enrollment in the Philippines increased by 774%, in Lebanon by 729% and in Uruguay by 565%.
The growth of e-learning and the increased pursuit of vocational certificates among women is a positive signal in a year in which they have left the workforce on a massive scale. Dropping out was both a matter of choice, often because of care obligations, and one by force, like job losses hit women particularly hard at the start of the pandemic.
Companies have taken various decisions aimed at bringing women back following their mass exodus. Earlier this year, the Indeed job board and the Luminary professional platform in partnership with a scholarship aimed at helping women, especially women of color, to connect with vocational training, coaching and job placement. Some companies have extended the provision of family care and support, partnering with providers such as Joshin and pump identification to create a more favorable working environment for women.
Coursera data shows that women are also eager to learn and develop their professional skills. In reality, development and training opportunities attractiveness to the entire working population, which could explain why investment in training did not decline in 2020, despite budget challenges. Employers who make development and training available to all employees and encourage their use may be in a better position to attract and retain women workers.