Can you introduce the Fondation des Femmes?
"The Women's Foundation was created in 2016 and has since become the leading organisation in France for the freedom and rights of women and against the violence they face. Thanks to donations, we provide financial, legal, and material support to high-impact associative initiatives throughout the country."
How was the foundation born?
"In 2014, Marie Cervetti, back then Director of the only shelter for young women victims of violence in France, wanted to open a second one to address the urgency of the situation. A city offered her a building, but everything needed adaptation, and she was far from having the necessary 100,000 euros. She was then forced to abandon this new project and turn away hundreds of young women each year. At that time, as often happens, we thought, "If only there were a feminist foundation capable of finding partners, funds, and solutions to develop our projects and defend our rights..." That was the turning point; I couldn't take it anymore, and I thought we had to do it!"
"The dream was a bit audacious: charities dedicated to the cause, apart from a few corporate foundations, were scarce. Money for women's rights didn't exist, or very little: it had the smallest budget in France, met with complete disregard. With a handful of volunteers, we believed that gender equality needed more resources to convince a broader audience, to advance women's rights more forcefully, and to provide women in need with more support services throughout the territory."
Is there a number we should know about?
"2.6 billion euros! That's the amount the State should allocate to the protection of victims of domestic, sexist, and sexual violence in France, as estimated by la Fondation des Femmes in the report "Where is the money against violence towards women?" Today, the percentage of the State budget dedicated to the fight against violence towards women in 2023 represents only 184.4 million euros, which is 15 times less than what is truly necessary to properly support victims.
Despite advancements in women's rights, the number and severity of violence remain unbearable in France. The increase in demands (+83% in complaints of domestic violence in 5 years, +100% in complaints of sexual violence in 10 years) has never been followed by investments matching needs to support women victims."
How can we support the Fondation des Femmes?
"Women in danger cannot wait; therefore, we have launched an emergency fund to obtain additional funds to secure essential measures for the safety of these women and allow endangered associations to catch their breath so that they can fully focus on their mission: protecting and supporting women and children victims of violence. We have already raised €120,000 since its launch in September, and we call on everyone who wants to help us to donate to this fund on our website fondationdesfemmes.org. Every step is a victory, and every small action is helpful: talk about our cause with your circle, participate in our annual fund-rising in December as a volunteer, and share our end-of-year campaign!"
Can you tell us more about La Cité Audacieuse?
"La Cité Audacieuse is the first space dedicated to promoting women's rights and gender equality in France. For over three years now, it has served as a hub for the promotion of feminism in the heart of Paris, hosting teams of associations, women victims of violence, and the general public. Each year, we welcome 16,000 people to La Cité Audacieuse, including employees of the associations we host, organisations recording podcasts in our studio or hosting events, and the general public attending conferences and training sessions."
What actions have been implemented to support women's rights?
"Our main objective at la Fondation des Femmes is to support feminist associations throughout the country, and for this, we provide three types of support:
Financial Support: Through two annual calls for projects (this year, we have redistributed €875,000 to over 26 associative projects, totalling €8.5 million redistributed since 2016).
Material Support: This includes, for example, providing office space at Cité Audacieuse, Paris immediate hotel reservations throughout France to secure the safety of women who have experienced violence, and the organisation of campaigns to collect hygiene and care products.
Legal Support: Through the Legal Force, which mobilises a network of volunteer lawyers to assist victims and support associations, and to engage in advocacy and strategic litigation actions.
Over the past 8 years, la Fondation des Femmes has played a crucial role in four fundamental areas. Firstly, funding for women's rights has become a significant issue. The understanding that substantial resources are needed has grown, and there is a need for means and spaces for associations to work. Then, rights. Women are speaking out and filing complaints. They can no longer be ignored, just as femicides cannot be ignored. Of course, the precariousness of women and inequalities are becoming more starkly visible. Inequalities between women and men are increasingly less tolerated in France. More than ever, awareness of these inequalities is accelerating."
What are the future projects of the Fondation des Femmes?
"At the end of the year 2023, we will be launching "Coups de Pouce 2023" (French fo Boosts 2023). This call for projects aims to provide financial support to associations facing financial difficulties and new projects lacking funding to address the various challenges faced by feminist organisations."
For more information, please visit La Fondation des Femmes' website. To support the fight for women's rights and against the violence the face, we are donating £1 for every product purchased among our Black Friday selection in support to la Fondation des Femmes.