Force Femmes: Encouraging Women Employment in French Cities

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Force Femmes: Encouraging Women Employment in French Cities


Text by: Ahmed Bedhiafi


Category: Civic Engagement


Starting or re-launching a career after the age of 40 can be a difficult if not impossible task. In particular challenging it is for women, who often face difficulties to find a job at that age, resulting with a lack of self-confidence and disappointment. Therefore, Force Femmes was born almost 15 years ago, as an initiative led by women and through collective solidarity helping other women to boost their employability skills. Today, it is a recognized association that aims to support unemployed women over 45 years of age in their efforts to return to work and start a business.
Not only they want to empower young women to become employable, they also want to inspire companies to see this target group as an added value, bringing also knowledge and life experience. Force Femmes works on programmes and activities that help those discriminated women to get personized help, professional orientation or re-orientation, training, and resocialization. They focus on three aspects: age, gender and the professional status. As such, the initiative is present in 14 cities across France, with a vision to expand even further and engage even more volunteers in each part of the country.
"Force Femmes offers specific support for women over 45-year old. We seek above all to restore confidence to women. The volunteers are there to guide and advise, but also to encourage and motivate. Beyond technical assistance, we also provide a warm human support to help those women get rid of the fear of failure, to keep in mind that we can always bounce back and restarting again is part of the adventure", writes Elise Moison, the organizational representative on their webpage.
Force Femmes recognize the importance of the intergenerational diversity and they see it as a vital mix needed in each company. Thus, their activities are not only targeted to the women, but to the society as a whole, changing the mindset and perception by ensuring professional equality and deconstructing the stereotypes that are connected to the recruitment process. Alongside the companies and the women, Force Femmes are developing activities to build networks and bridges with public authorities and other civil society actors that share their vision and mission. And the numbers speak for their achievements: more than 25,000 women have benefited from this initiative since 2005 with 46 % successfully being reintegrated at the labor market, 850 volunteers have been engaged, and almost 100,000 hours have been devoted in training and empowerment across 14 cities.