The Danube Region is considered an area with above-average gender inequalities in the employment sector. Unemployed women outnumber unemployed men especially in highly industrialised peripheral regions. Economic activities in such regions are traditionally concentrated in mining, manufacturing and engineering, which were predominantly male-dominated. Those traditional norms continue to shape narrow labour markets, which can reinforce gender stereotypes (e.g. men occupy high-skilled jobs, while women work in low-skilled jobs).

The recent COVID-19 crisis has exposed and even exacerbated the problem of gender inequality in labour markets through the sudden increase in women’s unpaid care work. The manifested problem of gender inequality and the resulting vulnerability of women in finding adequate and well-paid jobs appears to be a persistent and intractable problem that has not yet been effectively addressed by any country in the Danube Region.

The overall objective of the project WIN is to improve the position of women workers in peripheral industrial regions, contributing to a more accessible, inclusive and effective labour market for women.

In this way, the project aims to open up new employment opportunities for all women and remove cultural and institutional barriers that prevent women from realising their professional potential.

The expected impact is to bring about positive change in terms of:

  • a better understanding of women’s specific needs and skills gap on the one hand, and cultural and institutional barriers on the other, which together contribute to gender inequality,
  • empowering women with the necessary tools and opportunities to increase their professional potential,
  • improving the socio-economic development of peripheral industrial regions throughout the Danube Region, and
  • more effective policy-making at different spatial levels that can adopt more inclusive measures and practices, bringing down institutional barriers.

Partners: Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (VP), University of Graz, VESTE – Registered association Styrian Iron Road, LAG Sokolovsko, Central Transdanubian Regional Innovation Agency Nonprofit Ltd., Ministry of Economy Affairs of Hercegbosnian Canton, Employment Office of Herceg-Bosnian Canton, Association of Business Women in Serbia, National Management School of Bulgaria

Duration: 1st of January 2024 – 30th of June 2026


WIN is supported by the EU Interreg Danube Region Programme 2021-2027