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Rêv’Elles – Empowering women to choose their own paths

By Natalia Chan

After extensive research and consultation in Paris, we are all systems go for our latest pilot - 'Rêv'Elles' – which will target young women from the suburbs (banlieues) of Paris. 

The dream: to allow young women from ZUS (Sensitive Urban Zones) areas to have the same chance of professional success as others.

The mission: To allow young girls from ZUS to decide on their own future and to make professional choices which are truly in line with their aspirations and their potential.

Maslaha touched down in Paris in mid-2012 with a mission to expand our practice, putting our approach to work in a completely different context. After initial research and meeting a lot of people, we decided to work with the fabulous Athina Marmorat on a project targetting young women from the suburbs, inspired by Maslaha’s UK based project: I Can Be She. Phase 1 of the project is now complete – research and consultation to develop a dynamic and engaging programme which addresses a very clear need.

Statistics relating to educational attainment, employment and occupation illustrate that young women from ZUS (and in particular the suburbs) face striking inequality of opportunity. 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)

You can find out more about this research here.

The resulting programme – Rêv’Elles – is an exciting project which will enable young women to develop their confidence and career paths, and to achieve their dreams. Workshops will begin in May – we’re very excited! Much more to come…