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Contribution : "The Euro-Mediterranean Women’s Foundation" by Amandine Monnier

The Euro-Mediterranean Women’s Foundation: a catalyst for gender equality on both sides of the Mediterranean Sea

The Euro-Mediterranean Women’s Foundation, headed by the French association Forum Femmes Méditerranée in Marseilles, received an official support from the French Minister of Women’s Rights, Ms. Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, during the Anna Lindh Mediterranean Forum in April 2013. It aims to be the “missing link between the several protagonists who are committed to defending women’s rights in the Euro-Mediterranean region”. Focus on its ambitions and its beginnings.

Only five months after the announcement of its creation, the Euro-Mediterranean Women’s Foundation (FFEM) was officially launched on September 6, 2013 in Barcelona, at the headquarters of the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed). This ambitious, innovative and nonprofit making project has particularly crystallized around “Developing Women Empowerment” program approved by the Union for the Mediterranean in December 2011. If the Euro-Mediterranean countries consider gender equality as a fundamental value which contributes to peace and to the development of the region, women’s rights are still not recognized and respected enough and there is still too much discrimination against women.


“Gathering people together to share mutual experiences”

In order to enhance the role of women in the Mediterranean societies and to contribute to their empowerment and their emancipation, the FFEM wants to “decompartmentalize the voluntary and institutional sectors as well as the world of field experts and the world of research”, on an equal footing. Six founding organizations from civil society, the research sector and the institutional and government sphere are part of the FFEM, with women as representatives: Esther Fouchier and Fouzia Assouli head two women’s associations (the French Forum Femmes Méditerranée in Marseilles and the Moroccan Fédération de la Ligue Démocratique des Droits des Femmes in Casablanca). Zohra Mezgueldi and Soukeina Bouraoui are in charge of  two research and training centers focusing on gender issues (the Réseau Universitaire et Scientifique Euro-Méditerranéen sur le Genre et les femmes – RUSEMEG and the Center for Arab Women for Training and Research – CAWTAR). Finally, Maria-Àngels Roque and Nathalie Pilhes are the representatives of the IEMed and the French government, (DIMed).


Actions intrinsically linked

By sharing the experiences of people who work for the public and the private sectors (Ministries of Women’s Rights, local authorities, associations, companies and researchers) and by gathering them in a large network, the FFEM wants to foster and reinforce the understanding of gender issues through the creation of the Euro-Mediterranean Observatory for Gender Equality and the Research Laboratory of Shared Customs. Field actions and the Bank of Projects must rely on these research data in order to educate, train and develop income-generating activities for Mediterranean women.

The Foundation also decided to create a trilingual internet platform in English, Arabic and French to centralize all of these actions. The website will be used as a documentary database, a social network and a virtual place to post contributions on women’s condition. People who are committed to defending gender equality in the Euro-Mediterranean region, both women and men, will be able to meet and share their experiences. The platform is to be opened in September 2014.


The Euro-Mediterranean Women’s Foundation, a driving force in intercultural cooperation in the future?

The Euro-Mediterranean Women’s Foundation is certainly on an experimental phase right now, but it seems to be a high-potential project. For instance, Fouzia Assouli head of the FFEM, took part in the international project-oriented Union for the Mediterranean conference “Women’s Socio-Economic Empowerment: Project for Progress”, held on March 26-27 in Barcelona this year. She was there to explain the main goals the Foundation wants to achieve. Plus, other organizations from Greece, Algeria and Belgium will soon be joining the FFEM as active members and concrete actions are to be led. For instance The French Forum Femmes Méditerranée is currently setting up income-generating activities in Morocco and in Algeria. It is necessary to wait a few more months to see whether or not the FFEM will be a viable long-term project, but we can already assure that it is a truly hope and that it may become a major player in the intercultural Mediterranean cooperation dedicated to women.


Amandine Monnier 


Sources :

-          Délégation Interministérielle à la Méditerranée :

-          DestiMED :

-          Forum Femmes Méditerranée :

-          Groupe Inter-académique pour le développement :

-          Institut Européen de la Méditerranée :