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Panel Debate: Lost in Transition? Women in Rural and Underserved Communities

Lost in Transition? Women in Rural and Underserved Communities

Panel debate co-organised by the European Commission, Population Europe and the United Nations Population Fund.

This event was originally held online on Friday, 4 December 2020. You can watch a full recording on our YouTube channel.

Changes in the population structure have a clear gender dimension: These areas tend to offer fewer employment opportunities for women than for men; are often combined with less attractive living conditions for young families, such as primary schools and childcare facilities; and have poor transportation infrastructures. Such issues can prompt particularly well-educated women to leave these regions. Consequently, rural areas facing population decline often end up with an older age structure, a gender-imbalanced labour market and less support for aged individuals in need of assistance.

  • What policy measures could help provide more attractive living conditions and better and innovative job opportunities for women in rural communities?
  • What support is needed for women to become a motor for economic growth and sustainable development in rural areas?
  • Alanna Armitage, Director of the Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia of the United Nations Population Fund
  • Colin Scicluna, Head of the Cabinet of the Vice President of the European Commission for Democracy and Demography
  • Leo van Wissen, Researcher/acting theme group leader at the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute and Professor of Economic Demography at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences of the University of Groningen


  • Andreas Edel, Executive Secretary of Population Europe / Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Berlin

Participating Experts:

  • Zeljko Blagojevic, Programme Analyst, Population Development Strategies, Monitoring & Evaluation, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Bosnia and Herzegovina Country Office
  • Prof. Dr Mariana Buciuceanu-Vrabie, Professor and Research Associate, National Institute for Economic Research, Centre for Demographic Research, Republic of Moldova
  • Blandine Camus, Communication & Policy Officer, European Association of Mountain Areas (EUROMONTANA), Brussels & Paris
  • Prof. Dr Ivan Čipin, Professor of Demography, University of Zagreb, Croatia
  • Aliona Cretu, Head of the Demographic Policy Unit, Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection, Republic of Moldova
  • Astrid Dentler, Member of the Cabinet of Vice-President Dubravka Šuica, European Commission, Brussels
  • Jelena Drenjanin, Thematic spokesperson on Gender Equality at the Council of Europe, Brussels
  • Annemie Drieskens, President, COFACE Families Europe, Brussels
  • Dr Olga Gagauz, Vice Director, National Institute for Economic Research of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, Chisinau
  • Dr Anne Goujon, Project Officer, Knowledge Centre on Migration and Demography, Joint Research Centre, European Commission, Ispra, Italy
  • Michael Herrmann, Senior Adviser on Economics and Demography, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Istanbul and New York
  • Elona Kamberi, National Expert, Cabinet of Vice-President Dubravka Šuica, European Commission, Brussels
  • Dr Ilya Kashnitsky, Postdoctoral Researcher, Interdisciplinary Centre on Population Dynamics, University of Southern Denmark, Odense
  • Dr Sebastian Klüsener, Research Director on Demographic Change and Ageing, German Federal Institute for Population Research, Wiesbaden
  • Vasileios Margaras, Policy Analyst in EU Regional Policy, European Parliament Research Services, Brussels
  • Dr hab. Anna Matysiak, Assistant Professor, Chair of Population Economics and Demography, University of Warsaw
  • Eva Merloni, Project Manager, European Gateway for Women's Entrepreneurship (WEgate) / European Small Business Alliance (ESBA), Bologna
  • Dr Sylwia Michalska, Researcher, Department of Rural Sociology, Institute of Rural and Agricultural Development of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw
  • Eduard Mihalaş, Programme Analyst on Population & Development and Gender, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Chisinau, Republic of Moldova
  • John K. Mosoti, Representative, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in the Western Balkans
  • Jaime Nadal Roig, Representative, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Ukraine
  • Prof. Dr Claudia Neu, Chair on Sociology of Rural Areas, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
  • Dr Tomáš Sobotka, Research Group Leader on Comparative European Demography, Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna
  • Deša Srsen, Member of the Cabinet of Vice-President Dubravka Šuica, European Commission, Brussels
  • Sietske Steneker, Head of the Office, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Brussels
  • Dr Daniela Vono de Vilhena, Deputy Executive Secretary, Population Europe / Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Berlin
  • Dr Magdalena Ulceluse, Postdoctoral Researcher, Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen