Bridging the Gap: Helping women enter the workforce with job fairs and 21st-century skills

February 22, 2024


Women often lack the opportunities and resources to realize their immense potential. The current participation of women in India’s labour force is estimated to be around 37% as per the recent Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS). The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India has been working to bridge the gap and enable women by providing access to the opportunities and resources they deserve. Eight remarkable women, each with a unique story and shared determination, are shining examples of the transformative impact of UNDP's initiatives in collaboration with the Magic Bus India Foundation, supported by government partners, non-governmental organizations, Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), and government colleges. 

Paving the Path to Employment

Since 2022, UNDP's job placement initiatives have opened doors for over 25,000 women across Delhi, Haryana, Gujarat, and Karnataka, connecting them with local employment opportunities. Priyanka and Anu's stories exemplify this impact.

Priyanka, a 20-year-old commerce graduate from Sonipat, Haryana, with aspirations of pursuing an MBA, seized the opportunity presented at a UNDP-organized job fair, eventually landing a position at Subhmanu Management Consultant Private Limited. She has always been interested in banking, as she believes it is a dynamic and rewarding field that can offer her many opportunities for learning and growth. Priyanka plans to spend her first salary treating her family with gifts and a feast and save up for her MBA.


Anu, a 20-year-old management graduate from Jagsi, Haryana, driven by her passion for research and education, found her place at Peel-Works Solution Private Limited through the same initiative, taking steps towards her goal of creating educational content for aspiring management students. She believes that education is the key to empowerment and social change. Anu plans to spend her first salary on buying a comfortable chair for her mother, who suffers from a spinal problem, and getting a life insurance policy for herself. Anu wants society to allow women to work and contribute to the nation's development.

Nurturing 21st Century Skills

Enabling women with 21st-century skills to secure employment is at the core of UNDP’s work. It has helped women like Komal and Anchal to achieve their aspirations.

Komal, a second-year Bachelor of Computer Applications (BCA) student from Nangal Kalan, Punjab, honed her confidence and communication skills through UNDP's capacity-building programmes, leading to a successful placement at Innovsource Services Private Limited. She has many aspirations for her future, such as completing her education with excellent grades, gaining more knowledge and experience in her field, and pursuing a Master of Computer Applications (MCA) degree. With her first salary, Komal wants to take her mother for a medical check-up to ensure her good health. She wants women to have self-confidence and trust in their abilities. Komal believes women can overcome the social and familial barriers that often hold them back by talking to their parents.


Anchal, from Murthal, Haryana, armed with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a desire to contribute to education, found her footing at Vistaar Financial Solution Private Limited with newfound communication skills acquired through UNDP workshops. She thinks society should have more conversations about women and work and more awareness around job fairs like the one hosted by UNDP and Magic Bus Foundation. Anchal aspires to teach in either the government or private educational institutions. Her message is clear: do not give up on your dreams and keep trying to convince your family.

Facilitating Access to New Horizons

UNDP does more than just help women find jobs and education. It also supports them to access the resources, information, and opportunities they need to impact their communities positively. Empowering women enables them to become leaders and changemakers in various fields.

For Kirti, a 19-year-old girl from Ganaur, Haryana, having access to opportunities closer home was a game-changer. Kirti found a lifeline through a nearby job fair, securing a position at Innovsource Services Private Limited. Kirti plans to save some of her income for her niece’s education. She also encourages others to pursue their dreams and challenge traditional gender roles and advocates for the equal sharing of domestic responsibilities between partners.


At 21, Sheetal from Panipat, Haryana, aspires to entrepreneurship in fashion design. She took her first steps towards her dream by participating in the same fair, leading to her placement at Team Lead HR Solution Private Limited. Sheetal emphasizes the need for women to study hard and expand their horizons. Sheetal aims to use her income to take her father for eye surgery that has been long due.

Commitment to Improving Gender Equality 

Gender Equality and Leaving No One Behind are central to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UNDP recognizes women often lack the resources and confidence to access employment opportunities. We work with young women through mentorship and soft skills training to bridge this gap.

For 19-year-old Sheenu from Sonipat, Haryana, soft skills training, mock interviews, mentoring from trainers and teachers, resume preparation, and exposure to job fairs have been transformative tools. It has not only expanded her horizons but also allowed her to meet like-minded people and get that first work opportunity to learn and make a living. She aims to pursue an MCA from an open university. Sheenu works with Adhaan Solution Private Limited and wants to take her father and mother shopping for a health checkup when she receives her first salary.


Twenty-one-year-old Tanisha from Bhigan, Haryana, is preparing for the National Eligibility Test. She has a diploma in computer applications and aspires to take the civil services exam. Initially, her family did not support her taking a job outside her village. However, with her newfound confidence during the training and with other girls in her community, she convinced her family to take up a job far from home and is now placed at Ancy HR Solution Private Limited through the job fair. She believes that women can become leaders in their fields and emphasises the need for parents to provide guidance and support to explore opportunities beyond their traditional expectations. Motivated by Tanisha’s success, her two other friends are now pursuing work opportunities.


These stories are just a glimpse of UNDP’s work in facilitating and enabling skilling, employment, and entrepreneurship opportunities to leverage India’s demographic dividend and increase employment potential for women.

In celebrating the successes of these women, we celebrate not just personal victories but a significant stride towards a more inclusive and equitable world for us all.



Inputs from Divya Jain, State Project Head, UNDP India