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13.2 Gender and diversity studies in rural areas

Tuesday, June 27, 2023
11:00 - 12:30


Petra Raue
Thünen Institute of Rural Studies

Women in rural development policies – Where they contribute? Where they benefit? And Why not?


Gender equality is a cross cutting objective of EU funding programmes already since several funding periods. The dual strategy of gender mainstreaming and supporting measures to reduce disadvantages should be followed. Looking at Rural Development Programmes there are a multitude of specific objectives to be followed besides gender equality.
In evaluations of Rural development programmes in four German Länder we examined, to which extent differences between men and women can be observed with regard to
• Participation in local decision-making bodies in bottom up funding measures like LEADER or village renewal
• Applying for and benefiting from funding for investments for example in agricultural holdings or in building restoration.
We found inequalities between men and women in several areas of funding. For example, in initiatives like LEADER women are underrepresented, also in funding of agricultural investments the share of women is quite low.
We can show the main changes over the course of the funding periods. By comparing several rural development programmes, we can also identify the socio-economic influences and the effects of political and operational design variants of funding on gender equality.
Dr. Sylvia Keim-Klärner
Thünen Institute of Rural Studies

Gender differences in volunteering in rural areas


Volunteering in clubs and associations is very common in rural areas. Such involvement is often seen as a driver of social cohesion, innovation and a good local quality of life, strengthening community infrastructure and local service offers. On the individual level, engaging in voluntary activities is considered as one way of social participation and integration, enabling to implement own ideas, to engage in meaningful activities and personal relations. Yet, not all population groups (are able to) participate in volunteering in similar ways, and spatial aspects seem to play their own role in this, but they have rarely been examined so far.
We want to address this topic by focusing on gender differences in civic participation, especially volunteering, and the role of space in this. In particular, we distinguish urban and different types of rural areas in Germany as a context of volunteering and highlight gender differences in volunteering based on data from the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) and the German Volunteer Survey (FWS).
Our results show that engagement has not only developed differently over the past decades for men and women, but also still shows significant stereotypical differences today, especially in rural areas. At the end, we reflect on the challenges these patterns may have for rural areas and their inhabitants and derive desiderata for future research.
Laura Soler
PhD Researcher
Autonomous University of Barcelona

From the city to the countryside: sexual and gender dissidence deconstructing Catalan rurality


Sexuality is one of the most invisible identities in studies of geography, gender and rurality. Rural society has been characterised by heteronormativity and has been a factor in the exclusion of young people who have not felt accepted or sufficiently free in these rural areas.
However, there are also people with dissident sexual identities who decide to start a life project in a rural area. This is an underexplored trend, while many studies have focused on rural-urban migration due to sexual and gender orientation, the opposite case, sexual and gender dissidence that decides to settle in a rural context, is scarcely studied.
This is a part of in-progress research that analyses the life experiences of young people who identify themselves with sexual and/or gender dissidence and have decided to leave the city to establish a personal project in a rural environment in Catalonia.
This presentation seeks to answer questions such as: what are the motivations for settling in a rural environment? what do they find in a rural environment that the city does not have? what role does sexual and gender dissidence play in this decision? what importance do personal and territorial ties have in this decision?
All these questions are explored using a qualitative methodology, based on in-depth interviews with young LGTBI people living in different rural areas in Catalonia.

Session host

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Lena Greinke
Leibniz University Hannover

Sylvia Keim-Klärner
Thünen Institute of Rural Studies

Tuuli-Marja Kleiner
Thünen Institute of Rural Studies

Nora Mehnen
University of Hannover



Contact for questions about abstracts or registration: groningen@congressbydesign.com 

Contact for questions about the content of the programme: ruralgeo2023@rug.nl