An initiative of several European partners ended up in establishing a large partnership on the subject of Women in rural areas forming a network. The partners aim to formalize links among organizations dealing with rural areas and/or issues dealing with women. In the initial contacts among our institutions we have discovered several subject areas that are common in rural areas and deal with women.
Among the most common interests is the preservation of cultural heritage that women in rural areas preserve, and play a pivotal role, from preparing hadicrafts and homemade recipies to the restoration of cultural monuments. Going beyond the aspect of tradition and culture of women in rural areas, many common issues could be exploited in this project such as working conditions and Entrepreneurship opportunities for women in rural areas; agricultural and EU funded projects; access to information/ICT and other educational opportunities; Social/civic participation of women in local communities; volunteering, intergenerational learning and other opportunities for women in rural areas.
To establish a more formal link, partners will prepare a website/blog where our institutions will give the step to women from rural areas to communicate issues of common interest. In the project meetings each host will present to others all important aspects of women's life from the past to the present in rural areas and prepare a newsletter published in our website. Partners will also prepare written presentations and will elaborate on an aspect that is most important in their country. The website will also include the draft of an agreed manifesto where partners will prepare a code of contact; defining a sustainable cooperation among network partners and individual women from rural areas.
Women in rural areas of Europe are very often loaded with many responsibilities but with limited opportunities. Thus, this common revelation from different European partners brought into light the need for the creation of a relevant European Network where women from different EU rural areas could raise their voice and access of information on issues of particular concern. Our common ideas and interest; from organizations dealing either with women or with rural areas, was the common ground that motivated us to join forces.
Women in rural ares are in many occasions neglected although they play an important role in the development of their region. Most of the times, they are under-represented in their local communities, having lower paying jobs, and less access to information, health-care and educational opportunities. Also, several EU or national funded opportunities are not well communicated in the rural areas and there is a strong need to promote women's entrepreneuership and other financial opportunities for women. Moreover, Civic participation is an important factor, since in most municipalities or community councils, women are underrepresented. At the same time, women in rural areas are the ones that preserve traditions, customs and also cultural heritage in most European countries.
Our partnership will therefore create a common platform, a web-site where women and partner organizations could share ideas, opportunities, experiences and tools for women in rural areas. There will be an exchange of best practices and study visits in each meeting, where each host would demonstrate aspects of women's life in rural areas from the past to the present. Our network will provide the tools to women in rural areas to share their European cultures and traditions and communicate the problems that they face. One of the key issues is to exchange ideas and best practices on how Europe can improve rural women's life quality. Moreover, our partnerhsip will elaborate different creative strategies to develop active participation and European identity within women coming from rural European areas.
Women and women's organisation who are searching for funding of their ideas can get a short overview in this document: Funding for women.
And here you can download our visions raised at the end of the project.