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Equality between women and men is one of the principle of the European Union. In its “strategy Europe 2020”, the European Union considers equality between women and men as a growth driver for economy, employment, social cohesion and long term development. On this basis, one of its priorities is the increase of female employment between now and 2020.


In Europe, only 60 % of women work in contrast to 76% of men. 36% of working women including women seeking employment, are predominantly from 6 categories of industries within a list of 130: sales, care work, clerical work and other office jobs, catering and cleaning jobs. These types of employment are generally paid less, often part time, and for certain jobs are antisocial hours. 

For men, 25% are predominantly from the following categories: drivers, builders, tradesmen, management of small businesses, science and technology or  mechanics. These jobs are generally better paid, often on a full time basis, and at normal working hours. Therefor the job market is divided into jobs which are traditionally held by men, better paid, and more buoyant, as opposed to roles traditionally held by women that are less so. A study by the European Commission describes this situation of “employment segregation” and of “gender segregation in the labour market” (Study of Francesca Bettio and Alina Verashchagina).


Women struggling to reintegrate into the job market are the most affected by this phenomenon. These women choose or are guided towards jobs that they believe or are led to believe are appropriate to their skill set, more often than not in the care or cleaning industry.


A structured support network while seeking employment has a crucial role to play in retraining unskilled women in the industries listed above.

More specifically, this support is essential to broaden women’s professional horizons regarding jobs in industries traditionally male orientated and often higher paid and less precarious.

The project, “Gender diversity fosters employment”, provides tools to raise awareness and training necessary for these structured support networks to help find employment.


The tools :


  • A guide to raise awareness: 10 step guide to a successful female retraining into a traditionally male role


  • A reference manual on the retraining of women in the work place towards jobs traditionally held by men, for structured support to help find employment.


  • Business visit manual: on site visit to experience professional roles traditionally held by men for female job seekers

Project timeline : September 2015 to August 2017

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