Rêv'Elles: Maslaha in Paris
In 2013 Maslaha were funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation to develop a toolkit that would practically illustrate our approach to tackling social issues affecting disadvantaged communities on an international scale. The idea was for Maslaha to build on its experience of working with disadvantaged communities in the UK and create a toolkit relevant to an international audience.
The 'Rêv'Elles' Programme - Empowering women to choose their own path
Following extensive research and consultation, Maslaha decided to work with Athina Marmorat to develop a project targeting young women in the suburbs. This pilot project targeted young women between the ages of 16 and 20 from disadvantaged communities in Sensitive Urban Zones (ZUS – Zones Urbaines Sensibles) in the Parisian suburbs. Statistics around educational attainment, employment and occupation illustrated that our target group faces striking inequality of opportunity, examined in more detail through our qualitative research. (Read more about this here.)
The aim of the project was to build confidence and raise the aspirations of participants (from a variety of ethnic backgrounds) through educational workshops and by introducing them to local female role models with whom they could identify.
The participating role models were:
- Mariam Khattab: Head of recruitment division at Mozaik HR
- Bouchra Alioua: Secretary General at the KPMG Foundation
- Samira Ama: Doctor
- Koumba Diallo: Head of Animation at Herold retirement home
- Emira Zaag: CEO of ZA Consulting, a business specialising in site management
The objectives behind the educational workshops included:
- Developing knowledge and self-confidence
- Overcoming inhibitions and deconstructing prejudice
- Raising aspirations
- Developing a methodology to build a career plan, including previously unexplored paths
The project also presented us with some interesting challenges: the concept of ‘laïcité’ in France contrasts with how religious and ethnic groups are directly acknowledged and represented in the UK. Attempting to address the needs of a certain group was difficult in a country where projects cannot explicitly target groups based on religious or ethnic identity.
We estimate that about 85% of participants were from a Muslim background (based on those who requested halal food), all were from minority ethnic backgrounds, and many were second-generation immigrants.
These workshops were unique because in reality there are very few projects in Paris targeting the needs of young women from such backgrounds and neighbourhoods, and using innovative practice to do so. One of the more disconcerting things we gathered from talking to the young women was how little they are encouraged or supported by their schools. In some cases they are actively discouraged when they express aspirations. For example, as one of the role models who participated in the project said:
"Some of the girls told me that every day when they go to school there is a poster on the wall that tells them that only a small number of people from the areas they live in will go onto professional careers or university. When they tell the teachers they want to do something or pursue a particular career, the teachers tell them not to bother as they won’t be able to achieve it, that the odds are against them. I am so angry about this."
The immediate feedback from the first set of workshops was overwhelmingly positive, reflecting the life-changing impact on many participants, some highlights included:
“I never got bored, there was an incredible atmosphere"
"The workshops allowed me to explore different types of personality, to see how other people think and understand their reality”
“We discovered things we did not know about ourselves”
“The workshops allowed us to get to know each other better and discover ourselves”
"Frankly the workshops gave great hope and confidence to us."
We are incredibly pleased that following our work in Paris with Athina and the participants in 2013, that Rev’Elles has been developed into an independent organisation. Athina secured funding and support from the KPMG Foundation and United States Embassy to run a second phase of workshops in April 2014.
Following the success of these workshops, Rev’Elles was entered to compete for the ‘Trophees des Associations,’ a national competition organised by the EDF Foundation. We are delighted that they were successful in picking up the coveted ‘Favorite’ award and with it a grant to invest into the sustainability of the organisation.
In the meantime Maslaha continue to support Rev’Elles and touch base with Athina in an advisory capacity – we look forward to seeing where the next year will take them! Keep up with their great work here.
Statistics relating to educational attainment, employment and occupation illustrate that young people from disadvantaged city areas (and in particular the suburbs) face striking inequality of opportunity:
- The unemployment levels of young people between the ages of 15 and 24 years old in ZUS (Sensitive Urban Areas) are at 40.4%, compared with 21.6% in other areas.
- 37.1% of college students living in ZUS are at least one year behind at school, compared to 20.7% in other areas.
- 22.8% of Year 10 students living in ZUS continue with further education and academic subjects, compared to 43.8% in other areas.
Focus on young women in ZUS:
- Girls educated in ZUS have less success in the first year of the French GSCE equivalent compared to those from other areas. Following this, in the second year if the majority of girls living in ZUS follow the general curriculum, only 1 in 4 will take professional courses compared to 4 in 10 in other areas.
- Only 14.8% of women older than the age of 15 have 2 years higher education or more, compared with 29.9% in other areas.
- In the case of those who have the same qualifications, the rate of unemployment among women at the start of their working life is often higher. One of the main reasons for this are the chosen disciplines. It is rarer for women to opt for specialist subjects which generally lead to better starting careers than in the humanities or service industry.
- Unemployment rates show a certain stability amongst men living in inner cities (figures are only 0.3% higher than what they were in 2010 at 19.6%), whereas figures show a rise amongst women (currently 2.7% higher than what they were in 2010 at 20.6%).
(Sources: Rapport ONZUS 2012; Rapport ONZUS 2010; Formations et emploi, Insee, Edition 2011)
In addition, our qualitative research found that young female high school students from the suburbs:
- Lack self-esteem and confidence in themselves
- Have a great deal of difficulty in expressing their dreams, their desires and in identifying their own strengths
- Need to be supported in their own career choices, which lead to a tendency to go along with things rather than to choose their own direction
- Lack role models who they can identify with and who can serve as an example – there are very few visible role models from similar backgrounds in mainstream media
- Have a hard time understanding career ladders
- Have a little ambition but a lot of energy
- Are unfamiliar with and scared of the working world
- Do not know business codes of conduct
- Have a negative image of business (i.e. businesses exploit workers)
Les chiffres cléfs
Les jeunes des quartiers défavorisés (situés en ZUS), un constat d’inégalité des chances*:
- Entre 15 et 24 ans , le taux de chômage des jeunes en quartier ZUS est de 40,4% contre 21,6 % pour les jeunes situés hors des quartiers politique de la villes.
- 37,1% des collégiens résidents en ZUS ont au moins un an de retard alors que ce taux est de 20, 7 hors ZUS. Plus la catégorie social de l’élèves est favorisé, plus le taux de retard diminue.
- 22,8% des collégiens de seconde résidants en ZUS s’orientent vers la filière générale contre 43,8% des collégiens résidants hors ZUS.
Zoom sur Les jeunes filles des quartiers défavorisés:
- Les filles scolarisées en Zus réussissent moins au brevet que les filles fréquentant un collège situé dans les quartiers environnants. Par la suite, dans le second cycle, si les jeunes filles résidant en Zus s’orientent en majorité vers un cursus général, quatre sur dix suivront un cursus professionnel alors qu’en dehors des Zus seule une fille sur quatre s’orientera dans cette voie. (Rapport ONZUS 2012)
- Seulement 14,5% des femmes de plus de 15 ans ont un niveau Bac+2 ou plus contre 29,9% hors quartiers politique de la ville; (Rapport ONZUS 2010)
- A niveau de diplôme identique, le taux de chômage des jeunes femmes en début de vie active reste souvent plus élevé. L’une des principales raisons repose sur les filières et disciplines choisies, les filles optant en effet plus rarement pour une spécialité de la production ou des sciences exactes qui offrent généralement une meilleure insertion professionnelle que celles des services ou des sciences humaines et sociales. (Formations et emploi, Insee, Edition 2011)
Le taux de chômage connaît une certaine stabilité chez les hommes résidant en Zus par rapport à 2010 (+ 0,3 point à 19,6 %) alors que la tendance est nettement à la hausse chez les femmes (+ 2,7 points à 20,6 %); (Rapport ONZUS 2012)
Synthèse des besoins des jeunes filles des quartiers populaires
La cible des jeunes filles lycéennes âgées entre 16 et 18 ans issus de milieux modestes est une population dont les besoins sont multiples*:
Les jeunes filles lycéennes** des quartiers populaires:
- Manquent d’estime de soi et de confiance en elles
- Ont beaucoup de difficulté à exprimer leur rêves, leur envies et à identifier leurs propres forces
- Ont besoin d’être accompagné dans leur choix d’orientation qu’elles ont plus tendance à subir qu’à choisir
- Manquent de modèles identificatoires qui pourraient leur servir d’exemple
- Ont du mal à décrypter les échelons professionnels
- Ont peu d’ambition mais beaucoup d’énergie
- Ont peur du monde professionnel et le connaissent peu
- Ne connaissent pas les codes du monde professionnel
- Ont une image négative de l’entreprise (l’entreprise exploite les travailleurs)
* Résultats issus des rencontres terrain, entretiens en face à face avec des jeunes filles
** Cette réalité est d’autant plus marquée pour les jeunes lycéennes engagées dans des filières professionnelles
Follow our work in Paris...
This work in Paris is funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.