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Young girls fight stereotypes

Global Goals & Global Society
Young girls fight stereotypes

In Burkina Faso, Centre Féminin d'Initiation et d'Apprentissage aux Métiers (CFIAM) is breaking down stereotypes by offering girls training in mechanics, electricity and carpentry.

Barriers to accessing education

Burkina Faso is a Muslim African country, and being a woman there usually means staying at home and raising children. In most cases, a girl's education stops at the end of elementary school. Thereafter, they are either promised an arranged marriage or must work to support their families. Burkina Faso has the fifth highest rate of child marriage in the world. One in two girls is married before age 18 and one in ten before age 15. In fact, families prefer to invest in the education of their boy rather than their girl.

Fighting stereotypes

In Burkina Faso, repairing cars is a profession considered exclusively for men. And with a very high unemployment rate among youth, especially young women, comes a rise in extremist Islamic ideals and terrorism that has put a damper on significant positive change. Since 1997, the CFIAM has been helping young girls to break with tradition by offering them training in car mechanics.

"We want to fight against professional inequality, which is very widespread in our country," says Bernard Zongo, founder of the Tout pour Tous -Yennenga association, which created CFIAM.

A program of eight hours a day, six days a week, in a series of demanding courses ranging from math to French language, awaits them. Intensive practical courses include automotive electricity and body construction. The training center currently has 200 students. It is also supported by the non-profit organization (NGO) Terre des Hommes Switzerland as part of a project aimed at strengthening the employability of young women trained in trades perceived as male and at supporting their integration into the labor market.

Inequality threatens long- term social and economic development, harms poverty reduction and destroys people's sense of fulfilment and self-worth. This, in turn, can breed crime, disease and environmental degradation. By teaching young women that its normal to break stereo types and learn things which usually men do, like repairing a car or doing task which require strengths, the global inequality can be reduced, women become more independent and global society becomes stronger in its actions and more advanced in its achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.


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