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Lauch of the « 2023 Economic opportunities fund » call for proposals

Context of the call
Despite improvements over the past decades, gender inequality is still a significant problem in Europe. Some troubling statistics include the fact that women earn 13% less than their male counterparts and it goes up to 29.5% for pension gaps82% of jobs are gender segregated and 60% of women experience violence or harassment at work. The situation is even more difficult for people who experience multiple discriminations. For example, according to IOM-UN Migration, migrant women workers are disproportionately affected by job losses and their risk of poverty has intensified due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, migrant women account for at least 40% of care sector workers in some European countries. This sector, like many other ones predominately employing women, is known for having precarious conditions, lower pay and a higher instance of informal work.

The underlying causes of this lack of economic inclusion for marginalised women are multiple, systemic and interconnected. They range from reduced opportunities for quality training and education and the prevalence of gender and racial stereotypes to the unpaid care burden which still falls mainly on women’s shoulders and the high frequency of discrimination and violence in the workplace. On a more positive note, the European Union is now investing massively in the twin green and digital transitions, sectors where quality work, high standards, pay and protection are the norm. This can create opportunities to ensure women and marginalised groups are not left out.

This is the context in which the Alliance for gender equality in Europe (the Alliance), hosted by the Network of European Foundations (NEF), is launching a new call for proposals in the amount of 3.5 million euros. This call is aimed at driving impactful and sustainable community-driven solutions that promote economic opportunities for marginalised women, transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming people in Europe. This funding is intended to further the Alliance’s vision of a just and fair European society where gender equality is achieved for all people, especially those living in vulnerable situations.


Definition of economic opportunities

Economic opportunities can be understood as the opening up of jobs, entrepreneurship and financial opportunities to previously under-served social groups. The Alliance acknowledges that economic opportunities depend on various underlying factors, including education, training and skills, public services and infrastructures, careers and income level, financial independence, small business development, affordable housing and social networks. Other factors such as gender and racial stereotypes, occupational segregation, physical and mental health, caretaking responsibilities and debt may be barriers to accessing economic opportunities.

What we aim to fund

The proposal should demonstrate clearly how grantees will fulfil the overall objective of the call and the above definition of economic opportunities. Successful applications will present a solid approach with demonstrated sustainability for target groups and a clear idea of how and where to measure impact.

The Alliance believes in a holistic approach where improving the lives of individuals goes hand-in-hand with pushing for systemic change. We are also dedicated to listening to the individualised needs of small frontline organisations. Thus, we are open to supporting organisations that do not exclusively work on economic opportunities as defined above if they present strong needs and context assessments, address some of accelerators and/or barriers and have at least one of their activities aimed at opening economic opportunities. For example, we would consider an application from an organisation working on mental health if one of their specific activities involves access to job training.

The kinds of activities that could be supported under this call include the following:

  • Capacity-building activities for individuals or organisations, such as training, mentoring, coaching, empowerment and leisure activities.
  • Service provision.
  • Influencing, such as awareness-raising, advocacy, network building, research and policy work.

Some examples of potential funded activities:

  • Training women, transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people to enter good quality jobs such as in the tech and environmental sectors.
  • Providing financial coaching to improve women transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming peoples’ ability to manage day-to-day finances and prepare for financial shocks.
  • Supporting women, transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming people (social) entrepreneurs in generating stable income through their business
  • Advocating for decent work in highly gendered and racialised sectors such as in the care sector (jobs that look after people’s physical, psychological, emotional and developmental needs, such as health services, education, social work, domestic work, etc.)
  • Improving work-life balance
  • Reducing the unpaid care burden
  • Preventing gendered and racial discrimination and violence at work

Priority end targets

For the purpose of this call, marginalised people are defined as low-income women, transgender, non-binary or gender non-conforming people of working age with one or more of the following characteristics:

  • from a migration background and/or ethnic minorities
  • victims of violence
  • from rural or disadvantaged areas
  • in situation of disability
  • perceived as young, i.e at an age of entering the job market
  • perceived as old, i.e at an age closer to retirement

Selection criteria

Eligibility criteria

  • Completed proposal in English.
  • Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. This country selection is based on a balance between Northern, Eastern and Southern Europe.
  • Legally registered non-governmental civil society organisations, social enterprises, national or regional funds.
  • Small and medium frontline organisations. For the purposes of this call, frontline organisations are defined as being strongly grounded in, having direct relationships with and are accountable to the communities they support. Small and medium organisations are defined as having an annual budget under the following amounts (thresholds are based on the national cost of living and labour costs):
    • Organisations based in Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom: 600 000€
    • Organisations based in Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Spain: 450 000€

Regranting organisations are exempted from respecting these thresholds and should allocate the majority of the budget requested to regranting.

  • Organisations working with marginalised women, transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming people.
  • Includes realistic plans and budget matching applicant capacity.

Selection criteria

The proposals will be assessed on the basis of a 20-point criteria checklist covering six different areas:

  • Relevance of the proposal with the call objective – 4 points

The proposal should demonstrate clearly how it will fulfil the overall objective of this call:
driving impactful and sustainable community-driven solutions that promote economic opportunities for marginalised women, transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming people in Europe.

  • Long-term economic opportunities impact for target groups – 4 points

Successful applications will offer a convincing approach regarding economic opportunities, with demonstrated sustainability for target groups. They will also have a clear idea of how and where to measure impact.

  • Strong gender equality impact – 4 points

The proposal should have a clear gender assessment of its own specific political, economic, social, and environmental context. Organisations should state how the proposal will improve gender equality and what the impact may be.

  • Meaningful representation and/or participation of people directly concerned by the issues addressed in the proposal – 4 points

The Alliance encourages applications from self-led organisations as we acknowledge that people with lived experience are best placed to understand and solve an issue. For the purposes of this call, we understand self-led to mean that the majority of the leadership roles are held by members of the communities the organisation supports. The Alliance also funds organisations that are not self-led but implement meaningful participatory approaches involving the groups they serve. Applicants will be asked to provide data on the presence and role of people with lived experience in their organisations.

  • For non-regranting organisations only: Impact of Alliance support on the applicant’s organisational development – 4 points

The proposal should demonstrate how Alliance funding will contribute to improving the organisation’s capacity and sustainability. This can mean different things and could include, for example, improved governance and plans for future sustainability, strengthened and consistent engagement with target groups, improvement in beneficiary outcomes, developed expertise, new networks, partnerships and working methods, diversified income and/or financial resilience, etc.

  • For regranting organisations only: Strategic impact of the application on the gender equality ecosystem – 4 points

The proposal should have a strategic impact on the gender equality ecosystem in its region. This could mean addressing an emerging issue, supporting organisations operating under the radar of public and private funding, building movements, etc.

Support modalities

  • Our total funding for this call for proposals is 3 500 000€.
  • Funding will be awarded for 2 years: from July 2023 to June 2025.
  • Funding will range from 60 000€ to 150 000€ per grant.
  • Funding can be awarded either for core support or for project support. We understand core support as funding for any costs incurred by the organisation not targeted at specific activities/projects. It is usually used to fund costs that are considered as overhead such as salaries and trainings of admin/core staff, rents, admin and office costs, equipment… In project support, we accept salary costs; overheads are capped at 20%.
  • Grantees will be invited to participate in networking, peer-learning and capacity-building activities to reinforce their organisational development.
  • Regranting is possible.
  • Group applications are possible but only one organisation should be the lead and contact of the Alliance.
  • Each organisation can only submit one proposal.

Application and selection process


The application process will be in two stages.

For the first stage the applications should be submitted in English on our online platform by February 12, 2023 23h59 CET. You can download the application form for reference but the submission is only done online.

If the answer to your question is not on this page, you can consult our FAQ page.

During the application phase, the Alliance will hold two 1-hour Q&A webinars open to applicants to discuss the call and answer any questions applicants may have on

  • 18 January from 10:00 to 11:00 CET
  • 30 January from 15:00 to 16:00 CET

You can already register for the webinars here.

Selection process

Alliance staff will undertake eligibility verification and a first pre-selection of proposals. Short-listed applicants will be contacted in mid-March to participate in the second stage of the application process.

For the second stage, applicants will be required to fill out a more detailed proposal. Applicants may be contacted by Alliance staff during this stage to gather further information for the due diligence process. A selection committee composed of experts will analyse the applications and recommend grantees to the Steering Committee of the Alliance, which will make final granting decisions.

Final notification

Second stage applicants will be notified of the status of their proposal by email at the beginning of June 2023.

Grants are expected to start in July 2023.

Summary of the timeline

What When
1st stage of the application process opens January 9, 2023
Q&A webinars January 18 from 10:00 to 11:00 CET
January 30 from 15:00 to 16:00 CET
1st stage of the application process closes February 12, 2023
Notification of results of the 1st stage results by email March 15, 2023
2nd stage of the application process opens March 15, 2023
2nd stage of the application process closes April 16, 2023
Notification of final results by email Mid-June 2023
Start of grants Beginning of July 2023


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