The EU has formulated the ambitious goal to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy by 2020 (EU2020). Within this context seven flagship initiatives have been defined.
One of these is “Youth on the move”, a comprehensive package of policy initiatives on education and employment for young people in Europe. The European Social Fund (ESF) plays an important role in facilitating and supporting projects for youth, and integration of young people into the labour market has been defined as an investment priority (European Commission 2014). However in the policy debate and in the measures taken to fight youth unemployment, gender differences seem to be ignored. This gender-blindness might endanger the effectiveness of implemented policies and reinforce gender-inequalities.
In this paper we address the main gender issues regarding gender differences in youth employment and socio-economic conditions. The paper is largely based on the results of the comparative ENEGE report Starting fragile – Gender differences in the youth labour market (2013), edited by the authors, together with Janneke Plantenga, for the European Commission.