Call for Papers: Women in rural areas - labour markets, images, policies

RHN 103/2013 | Call

Organisers: Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography; Ministry for Regional Development and Transport Saxony-Anhalt

14 March 2014, Berlin, Germany

Deadline: 30 October 2013

International Scientific Conference:
Women in rural areas: labour markets, images, policies

Economically weak and remote regions in Europe are often affected by selective migration leading to a shortage of young women. On the one hand these migratory movements are closely related to rural labour market structures which are offering fewer (career) options to women than to men. On the other hand traditional gender roles and certain lifestyles have an impact on the migration decisions of young women: Urban areas are often supposed to offer better possibilities for personal development, education, integration in the labour market and the reconciliation of family and work to young women. For the regions affected by selective out-migration negative impacts on the regional image, a thinning out of social networks and an unfavourable effect on the regional economy are conceivable. A skills shortage in particular in female-dominated areas of the labour market is likely to become a negative locational factor. Against this backdrop we welcome contributions addressing the following topics:

1. Women and rural labour market structures: How to make a living – how to get ahead? In this section the focus is on the peculiarities of rural labour markets and the interrelations between labour market structures and gender related migration. The significance of voluntary work for local economies and the importance of female commitment in this respect are equally important issues. Related questions to be discussed are:

  • How do gendered labour markets influence female migration?
  • What hampers female job prospects in rural regions and how can female career options be improved
  • Is a shortage of female labour force a serious challenge for the economic development in rural regions?
  • How strong are sectors outside the regular labour market like voluntary work when considering female labour force participation in the countryside?
  • How to estimate the economic potential of female entrepreneurship and start-ups

2. ‘Rural idyll' or 'rural dull'? 'The rural' from a female point of view. This issue targets the question how young women perceive and assess rurality nowadays. Therefore we would like to learn more about the expectations and needs of the various sub-groups of young women living in rural areas and the values that are basically connected with living in the countryside. Related aspects of particular interest are:

  • How important are lifestyle preferences and cultural aspects like norms and values governing gender roles in order to better understand or explain female migration decisions?
  • How do women perceive living in the countryside and what do they consider as key characteristics of rurality?
  • Are there gender differences in the evaluation and perception of rural life?

3. How can regions benefit from gender sensitive policy advice? Prospects and experiences. This thematic complex is dealing with the significance of young women as a key target group of regional development strategies to tackle demographic change in rural areas. In this respect different concepts and experiences related to following topics should be discussed:

  • Which strategies are promising to deal with the female brain drain?
  • What are the prospects and pitfalls of target group oriented development strategies?
  • How to address the wide range of different female living situations and migration biographies like re-migration, immigration and settled lifestyles?
  • What about the remaining population like in particular the group of young men living in rural areas?

All interested contributors are requested to submit an abstract of their paper in English (200-250 words) to k_wiest(at) by 30th October 2013. The contributions made by the conference will in conclusion be compiled in a scientific book on „Women in rural areas: labour markets, images, policies“.

The scientific conference „Women in rural areas: labour markets, images, policies“ is one of three events, held in conjunction with the International Women Forum. Beyond the scientific conference in Berlin the International Women Forum includes an extensive exchange of experience and networking activities amongst policy makers and practitioners in Magdeburg and the award ceremony for the “women are future – price”. All events are organized in the frame of the European Project WOMEN. It is implemented through the Central Europe Programme and co-financed by the ERDF.

There will be no fee for the participation at the conference, all meals will be covered. Travel and accommodation will be self-paid.

  • Submission of abstracts: 30th October 2013
  • Notification of acceptance: 9th December 2013

Contact: Dr Karin Wiest
Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde / Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography
e-mail: k_wiest(at)