Equal opportunities in transitions

„Equal opportunities for young men and young women who are in transition from school to work as a political strategy and concept in the establishment of local networks for employment“

Duration of the project: January 2001 – September 2002


The project aimed at improving local networks for employment that provide transitions to work for young women and men in a way that they become aware for gender-specific needs and trajectories. The network approach was analysed and developed with regard to gender issues.
Existing networks were enabled to act more effectively by supporting the communication (e.g. by identifying and tackling communication barriers) between local actors as well as by supporting a gender oriented approach and network structure.
One important goal was to obtain a comparable knowledge about three European regions and their implementation of gender perspectives in local networks, as well as the identification of success criteria in networks in respect to gender issues and equal opportunities for young men and women. A main focus was also put on organisations in the third sector which work in the field of job creation and support of employability with very different partners on a local/regional level.

Our partner organisations in other European countries were:

  • GENESIS, Emilia Romagna, Italy
  • AREA, Valencia, Spain

Objectives of the project

The main objective of the project was to detect details about the chances and obstacles concerning the transfer of „equal-opportunity-standards“ into the establishment process of local networks for employment which support (disadvantaged) young women and men in their transition to work.

Other (more specific) objectives were:

  • The detection of the preconditions for an effective unification of all local female and male experts within a selected local context.
  • The exploration of decision making instruments integrating gender perspectives in cooperation with the local actors.
  • The development of a working structure and strategy which included a moderating and coordinating authority together with the local actors.
  • The creation of awareness among the network members concerning gender issues.
  • The development of learning strategies for the network-members considering gender perspectives.
  • The detection of main areas of cooperation between relevant local actors and 3rd sector initiatives that have a specific role in the field of job creation and employability.

Work packages

  • The definition of standards for networks that integrate gender issues in their work and that promote equal opportunities for young men and women from a scientific point of view.
  • The development of a common questionnaire for all three regions for the investigation.
  • The identification of key situations which make a successful support for young people and promote equal opportunities for young women and men.
  • The identification of success criteria in best practice networks.
  • The evaluation of the material for each region, a comparison of the results which took into consideration social policy structures of each region.


The three partner organisations defined standards for the establishment of local networks for employment with respect to gender mainstreaming and got a first overview on the situation in networks in their region.

At a first transnational meeting we evaluated the first steps and developed a questionnaire that allowed a deeper investigation of success criteria and the hypothesis that we had found after a first short investigation.

Success criteria of best practice networks were identified by interviewing selected network experts, in group discussions in the networks and by questionnaires.

In a second transnational meeting we collected the results and discussed the success criteria and obstacles in each region by taking into consideration the specific regional structure and history situation and different social policies.

We finally developed common political guidelines for the establishment of gender issues and equal opportunity criteria in local networks for employment.

All three partners organised workshops for their partner networks in each region and presented and discussed the results with them.

The project ended with a presentation of our results in Bruxelles.

Documentation of results

The results were documented in separated reports for each region as well as in a comprehensive report as a kind of synopsis for all three regions.

For the german region we developed a handout with guidelines that gives local networks for employment orientation and support on how to develop an approach that is sensitive for gender issues and equal opportunities for young men and women ins transition to work. It was written for political experts and organisations (especially organisations in the third sector) that promote employment and education as well as for their partners.

Your contact at IRIS: Sabine Riescher