In France, women today still face major inequalities in terms of employment (access to the job market, part-time work, salaries, balancing work/family life).
Although there has been a significant decrease in the difference in labor force participation rates for men and women in recent years, the percentage of women in the labor force (68%) remains 7% below the percentage of men. Women are also more likely to be forced into involuntary part-time work (80% of part-time positions are held by women). They are also over-represented in low-wage jobs, despite the fact that women receive university degrees in higher numbers than men. Women often face a “glass ceiling” when it comes to their career advancement; there are far fewer women than men in senior and management level positions.
This has a significant effect on women’s earnings and exacerbates the wage gap between men and women. According to the INSEE (French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies), women in France earn an average of 19% less than men. In Occitania, in the south of France, women earn 24% less than men and percentage of women in the labor force remains lower than men’s labor force participation at the regional level, as well as the women’s employment rate at the national level.
Finally, women face greater challenges in balancing their work and family lives, since they still take on two thirds of all household and childcare responsibilities.
THE SOLUTIONS WE’RE PROPOSING
Given these observations, and because access to employment is the first step to empowerment, W4’s field partner, the Center for Information on the Rights of Women and Families (CIDFF), in the department of Hérault, is working to provide an innovative solution to address these inequalities by creating the first “Center for Women’s Employment” (MEF) in the country.
The center provides an innovative space – a resource bank – where CIDFF staff will provide women comprehensive and individualized support, including access to couples and family counseling, psychological support, legal information, and most importantly, support in accessing the job market. The project aims to address the full range of barriers to women’s employment, and provide solutions adapted to the specific needs of each woman.
The MEF will help the women define and implement their professional project. Additionally, the center will act as a platform to support the development of initiatives aimed at improving access to employment, access to training opportunities, creating or buying an existing business, and expanding career choices…etc. within the entire department.
The project specifically targets those women furthest from the labor market, including those living in poverty or at risk of poverty (single mothers, women experiencing long-term unemployment, under-employed women, involuntary part-time workers).
Furthermore, the project aims to reach survivors of domestic violence and provide them with support adapted to the specific challenges to accessing employment, which they face.
THE IMPACT OF YOUR GIVING
By supporting this project, you are helping us renovate and equip the home of the future “Center for Women’s Employment”, so that we can create a friendly and welcoming space for our beneficiaries.
Thanks to your generous support, women in the department of Hérault in France will be able to access the job market, escape poverty, and become financially independent. Each year, around 800 women will benefit from our support services, helping them get one step closer to finding a decent and sustainable job. Additionally, the CIDFF is committed to ensuring that 50% of the women that use their services find a job, enter a training program, or create their own business within a year of their first meeting.
Finally, your generous donation will enable survivors of domestic violence to access specialized support services, not only to protect them from violence, but also to help them find a job so that they can regain their self-confidence. Having a sustainable job is crucial for these women, as it provides them a refuge as well as an income, an indispensable step toward achieving greater autonomy and escaping violence.
Together, at the local, as well as the national level, we can promote innovative solutions, like the “Center for Women’s Employment,” to put an end to enduring inequalities in terms of men’s and women’s employment, part-time work, career choices…and violence against women.
 As recommended by the 5th Mobilisation plan to combat violence against women (2017-2019) www.familles-enfance-droitsdesfemmes.gouv.fr/5eme-plan-de-mobilisation-et-de-lutte-contre-toutes-les-violences-faites-aux-femmes-2017-2019/