Women Empowerment | France

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“France’s commitment to gender equality around the world”

In this “Women Empowerment Worldwide” series for House of Notoire, women empowerment sceneries all over the globe will be researched and discussed with you. My ambition is to enlighten and inspire you with facts & figures on women empowerment you didn’t know yet - but which should definitely be a part of every girl’s cultural education. During the week I’m involved with TheNextWomen, where I’m responsible for the TNW women’s network and all of the events related to that. During the weekends I’m a freelance creative that loves to write about all things girlbossy. In between that, I’m a true globe wanderer and I try to discover new places as often as I can.

In this fifth edition of the women empowerment worldwide series, I will discuss the status of women empowerment in France. A topic that is very relevant for me personally at this moment. After months of organization of the annual pitch competition for TheNextWomen in Amsterdam, Paris and London - it was time for the semi-finals in Paris last week. 8 ambitious female founders were selected in the first online round, to give their live pitch during the semi-finals at the Atelier Néerlandais. Our main partner for the event was the Embassy of the Netherlands in France and the event was a huge success.

Nico Schiettekatte, Head of the Economic Cluster at the Embassy, opened the event. In his welcome word, Schiettekatte proclaimed himself a “feminist” which was refreshing to hear out of a man’s mouth. Gender equality concerns everyone. “Gender equality leads to a more effective, inclusive society and this stimulates creativity, innovation and, eventually, shared economic growth”, Schiettekatte concluded his speech with.

In addition to dealing with the issue in France itself, the country has decided to think bigger and has developed an international strategy to combat gender inequality. Gender inequality continues to be an issue around the world, and has even worsened in some regions: Kenya is an example. To address the issue worldwide, France is enhancing the effectiveness and consistency of the gender actions in its development assistance and external action policies. France’s international policy raises one big question to me: is the battle for gender equality in France conquered?

It definitely isn’t. On the contrary: there’s still a long way to go in France, too. We probably all know one of the main founders of (French) feminism: Simone de Beauvoir. As the author of the fundamental work “Le Deuxième Sex” (The Second Sex), de Beauvoir put herself on the map in 1949. Now, a century later, France has taken many steps in order to combat domestic violence and violence against women, in particular by enacting Law No. 2010-769, of July 9, 2010, on Violence Against Women, Violence Between Spouses, and the Effects of These Types of Violence on Children.

Perhaps the solution, within the French borders as well as outside of France, would be: more men like Nico Schiettekatte, who embrace the fact that feminism isn’t a “women’s thing”. Gender equality concerns everyone. Every gender, every race, every age; every one.

Maxime Eveline
stay in touch via instagram: @maximeveline