PH ranks 1st in highest increase in women enrollees on Coursera

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Online learning platform Coursera has released a new study revealing an impressive increase in online learning participation among women learners in the Philippines and globally.

Photo from Coursera

The “Women and Skills Report” compared pre-pandemic enrollment and performance data with trends observed on the Coursera platform since the onset of the pandemic through June 2021.

With 774% year-over-year increase in enrollments from women learners, the Philippines ranked number 1 out of 190 countries for highest increase. More women are also participating in certificate training programs aimed at entry-level digital jobs.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021 indicates that the pandemic has disproportionately impacted women in the Philippines, with the country ranking lower than in 2020.

Despite the country almost bridging the education attainment gap at 99.9%, there is still a gender disparity in labor force participation, with only 49% of women in the job market today.

“We believe that the new norm of remote work and online learning is setting a solid foundation of a more inclusive recovery. While women participation in the labor force is low in the Philippines, in the long-term, we may see this rise as the access to equal job-relevant online education leads to equal employment opportunity,” said Raghav Gupta, managing director for India and Asia Pacific at Coursera.

“The encouraging trends from the report are a testament to the resilience of Philippine women learners and their determination to return to work and advance their careers.”

Insights from the report include:

  • The Philippines ranked number 1 (774%) worldwide for the highest increase in YoY enrollments from women. The majority (56%) of new learners in the Philippines today are women, bringing the total number of registered women in the country to 650,000.
  • Top skills among the Philippines women show high investment in business skills. Top 10 skills from the past year include communication (1.2-million enrollments among women in the Philippines), leadership and management (880,000), entrepreneurship (740,000), marketing (630,000) and business analysis (550,000). The majority of the most popular courses are also from the business domain including Excel Skills for Business (Macquarie University) and Write Professional Emails in English (Georgia Institute of Technology).
  • Trends among women learners in the Philippines align with global learner trends. Though business skills are the most popular, more women are enrolling in STEM courses. For STEM courses, the gender gap narrowed from 38% enrollments from women in 2019 to 43% in 2021. Filipino women are investing in critical STEM skills like probability and statistics (680,000 enrollments from women in the Philippines), data analysis (490,000), and computer programming (480,000), with Programming from Everybody from University of Michigan among the most popular courses.
  • Women in the Philippines are enrolling in more courses than pre-pandemic, particularly in certificate training programs aimed at entry-level digital jobs. Women’s enrollments in entry-level Professional Certificates increased from 33% in 2019 to 47% in 2021. These certificates, from industry leaders such as Google, IBM, and Facebook, are designed to prepare learners without a college degree or technology experience for a wide range of high-demand digital jobs.
  • Businesses, governments, and campuses will continue to play a key role in reducing gender gaps in the digital economy. In 2021, programs where Coursera is used by various businesses, governments and campuses in the Philippines, there were higher shares of registered women learners (44%, 57% and 54% respectively), as compared to global (36%, 51% and 42% respectively). Better gender share is likely to contribute to more diverse talent pipelines for employers.

“I earned my computer science degree with only a handful of women alongside me, and while a great deal has changed since then, we still have important work to do to increase women’s representation in technology and leadership,” said Betty Vandenbosch, chief content officer at Coursera.

“Access to flexible, job-relevant education can help women learn the new skills they need to enter high-demand roles and achieve better gender balance in the workforce.”

The Women and Skills Report included data from 40 million new learners who registered during the pandemic between January 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.

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