[Brussels, 26 February 2018] We are proud to present you EmpowerMap—a joint project of the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) and the Orange Foundation.
The goal of the project was to gather information about grassroots women’s organisations in Spain, France, Romania and Poland which have on-the-ground programmes aimed at the socio-economic empowerment of vulnerable women.
In response to this need for information, this six-month project provided a mapping of the needs of vulnerable women and the practices and capacities of grassroots organisations which assist them.
Tapping into the EWL’s network of over 2,500 member organisations, this project illuminates the various issues and struggles that women in situations of economic difficulty face across diverse countries, how service-provision organisations assist them in their journey to empowerment, and how digital education has the potential to help them become independent.
EmpowerMap revealed that in all four countries, the main vulnerabilities experienced by women included domestic violence, single motherhood, social isolation/lack of networks, and low self-esteem. Additionally, lack of childcare and eldercare was one of the biggest recurring obstacles women faced when trying to enter the labor market.
Furthermore, in the studied countries, the most vulnerable populations—including migrant women, homeless women, women in prostitution and Roma women—were those that had the hardest time entering employment. Organizations working with these populations noted that often digital training with the aim of increasing employability only had a chance of being effective after the organization had done long-term work with the woman to get her into stable housing, proper work documentation, and taken care of other more basic needs. Similarly, organizations working with women who had experienced domestic violence explained that women needed help dealing with trauma emotionally and psychologically before they could tackle economic issues.
- Empower Map Infographic
Across countries the organizations which were the most successful at getting women into jobs were those that worked long-term with women in a holistic way, first attending to their other needs including social and emotional counseling, self-esteem issues, legal issues and the residual effects of violence. Only after a woman was in a stable physical and emotional place was she ready to benefit from digital skills training aimed at helping her find a job.
Other commonalities included a lack of help and support for organizations working with women in rural areas, as well as the heterogeneity of poverty. Many organizations across all four countries worked with vulnerable women of all ages, backgrounds, life situations, and education levels, demonstrating that any woman can fall into poverty, experience violence and end up in a vulnerable situation.
Ideas on Action
This information will enable the Orange Foundation to make better-informed and more strategic choices about which kinds of organisations and which groups of vulnerable women can be best served by the Orange Foundation’s ‘Women’s Digital Centres’ Programme.
The data generated from this research, especially information on our Members’ lack of financial resources, will be used in the upcoming EWL’s campaign about Resourcing the Women’s Movement. Stay tuned for more information on this exciting campaign, which will raise awareness.
Read the reports