Female perspectives on the knowledge economy opportunities in the rural areas

The main objective of the project ‘Female perspectives on the opportunities for new work in rural areas (UUTTU)’ was to provide information on the framework conditions for new work and the knowledge economy (knowledge-intensive service activities) in rural areas from the perspective of women. The project’s research theme was gender segregation in education and working life, whilst it also examined the possibilities and means of new work in rural areas from the perspective of women. The project provided an overview of the current state of knowledge-intensive service activities in rural areas from the female perspective, identified factors that promote or hinder new job opportunities in rural areas from the female perspective and identified and considered ways to promote new job opportunities in rural areas from the female perspective. According to the results of the project, women’s knowledge work in Finland is very strongly concentrated in urban areas. In rural areas, the importance of the education sector in women’s knowledge work has been considerably emphasised, but at the same time the concentration of education is reducing jobs. Promoting women’s knowledge work in rural areas requires the development of the rural workplace structure, tackling the challenges of careers and identifying specific issues from the female perspective. In addition to MDI, Emilia Kangas from Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences participated as an expert in the project. The data collection methods of the study included the desk analysis of qualitative and quantitative data, thematic interviews, an electronic survey, workshops and a case study.

The project was funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry on the proposal of a project group set up by the Rural Policy Council, with financing from the Rural Development Fund’s national rural research and development projects.