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AMUEBLA will lead an European project working towards women equality in boardrooms

The empowerment of women worldwide is one of the most remarkable revolutions of the past century: millions of people who were once dependent on men have taken control of their own economic fates.

Today women make up the majority of professional workers in many countries. According to data from November 2016, the employment rate for women aged 20–64 in Europe stood at 64.3 % in 2015. A longer-term comparison shows that, while the employment rate for men in 2015 was the same as 10 years earlier, there was a marked increase in the proportion of women in employment, rising 4.3 percentage points from 60.0 % in 2005.

The trend towards more women working is almost certain to continue. In the European Union women have filled 6m of the 8m new jobs created since 2000. Goldman Sachs calculates that increasing women's participation in the labour market to male levels will boost GDP by 21% in Italy, 19% in Spain, 9% in France and Germany, and 8% in Britain.

Despite a general trend towards more equality in society and in the labour market as well, progress remains slow and significant gender gaps persist. Only about 17% of board members for Fortune 500 companies were women in 2013, and out of 500 companies, only 27 have female CEOs in 2016. Still, women represent up to 60% of higher-education graduates in Europe.

In December 2015, the European Commission adopted the Strategic engagement for gender equality 2016-2019. In this work programme, the Commission has reaffirmed its commitment to continue its work to promote equality between men and women. This means maintaining the focus of gender-equality policy and achieving equality between women and men in decision-making, as well as reducing the gender pay and increasing female labour-market participation and the equal economic independence of women and men.

Taking all this facts into account, the Erasmus+ project 'Women in Power' aims to foster the leadership and empowerment of European women working in traditional sectors through education, giving them the tools and skills to achieve executive management positions within the industry.

Therefore, this project is focused on solving gender inequalities in the European society: the underrepresentation of women in boards and executive roles within the traditional sectors of our economy, mainly the furniture, textile and footwear industries.

Through the abilities and competences developed by this project, women who are working on these traditional sectors, and who have a deep knowledge of their own industries, can enhance their skills and reach top executive roles, therefore promoting gender equality and the advancement of women in Europe.

In order to comply with this European commitment to reduce the gender gap and to obtain our main goal for this project, 'Women in Power' sets its main goal in promoting women leadership and participation in the decision-making process.

Implementation of this project will increase social capital, competencies and professional skills of the participating organizations’ staff which will positively influence the educational activities and therefore speed of changes in European societies.

To accomplish these goals, 'Women in Power' will work towards the following objectives:

- To develop new learning approaches and teaching strategies toward gender leadership education, defining a European learning pathway on leadership specifically developed for women working in the traditional sectors.

- To develop a course for women to promote basic and transversal skills to achieve executive roles within their industries;

- To promote transnational partnership, to gain experience in international cooperation and strengthen the capacities of education for women.

- To enhance know-how and practice exchange among partners from European countries.

This project is lead by AMUEBLA, with a consortium formed by seven partners from United Kingdom, Romania, Lithuania, Malta and Spain: Inova Consultancy, Romanian Textile Concept, Jaunimo Karjeros Centras, Women Directors in Malta, Campus Iberus and CENFIM.