[Translation (French - English) : EPALE France]
The Hubertine Auclert Centre is an associated body of the Ile-de-France regional council. It is the Ile-de-France centre dedicated to the promotion of gender equality. Its main objectives are the promotion of equality between women and men and combating violence against women (through a regional observatory). The centre provides expertise and resources on these themes to actors in the field. It also provides training.
Who was Hubertine Auclert (1848-1914)?
She was the first "French suffragette". These words are borrowed from her biographer, Steven C. Hause. Hubertine Auclert, The French Suffragette (Yale, 1987) is the title of his book. In the political context of the French Third Republic, this title underlines how unique this woman was. While her contemporaries opted for a strategy of small steps beginning with demanding equal civil rights, Hubertine Auclert advocated for women's political rights.
Challenging gender hierarchy required women's participation in political decision making, in drafting and voting on laws. Why would men change a situation that was favourable to them on their own initiative?
While this claim appears legitimate these days, at the time it was the hallmark of her militant career. Hubertine Auclert was the French suffragette.
The centre's activities.
The centre is active in four areas:
- Education on equality.
- Support for associations.
- Support for local and regional authorities.
- Regional observatory on violence against women.
It has an "Egalithèque", an online resource centre for publications, and job listings for jobs promoting equal opportunities for men and women. It also organises campaigns and training courses, addressing actors in the field in different sectors.
What about during lockdown?
The centre is aware that violence against women could increase during the lockdown period (as recent events have shown). It has published an article on its website providing comprehensive information on active measures to support women suffering from violence.
It also offers a selection of free access films, books, exhibitions and feminist podcasts to "make the lockdown less painful". New works are added regularly.
It also provides training tools. I would like to mention one, "Une Femme Comme Moi” (A Woman Like Me). This is a training kit composed of a short film and an accompanying booklet, intended for trainers of public officials from the three areas of the civil service and in particular for managers, agents, HR managers and counsellors in support units.
Interview with François GROLIER, in charge of training at the Hubertine Auclert centre
What are the training courses normally offered by the centre?
The training courses are part of a broader support system, organised in two parts, by theme and by the type of actor. While we support Ile-de-France organizations on general gender equality issues, more specifically, we also cover issues relating to violence against women and education about equality. In terms of audiences, we work with local authorities (officials and elected representatives), trade unions, teachers, association leaders (employees and volunteers), associations working for gender equality as well as more general associations wishing to better integrate these issues.
On this basis, we propose various courses in complementarity with the organizations of the sector and in particular our associative members. The formats vary, we organize many inter-organization courses to encourage the exchange of practices and encounters, but we adapt to demand and are developing more and more training sessions on demand, for organizations. These can range from training the departmental directors of a municipality to set up an action plan for gender equality at the municipal level, to training a city's leaders to provide support for egalitarian groups, or training in identifying and supporting women who have been victims of domestic cyber-violence.
Do you consider the work of the centre to be popular education?
The teaching method belongs to popular education in the sense that we keep “top-down” teaching time to the strict minimum. We increasingly favour practical applications and exercises based on the knowledge and work of the participants.
When we work with facilitators, for example, it's not a question of imposing on them what we mean by gender stereotypes, but rather inviting them to analyse their own practices, the tools they use, consider gender, in order to see what works and what doesn't, what stereotypes are being perpetuated. Participants can then take on new tools that we propose, rethink their practices, change the way they see things.
The centre also seeks to create communities of practice, spaces for exchange and collective discussion, where members can gain tools and be inspired.
How do you reach all audiences? Especially those the furthest removed from training courses?
As well as these formats aimed at an adult audience, providing tools for their daily practice, we have developed online modules. The site Understanding Equality (Comprendre l’Egalité), for example, provides resources for acquiring a range of knowledge on gender issues. At present, there is a module on violence against women, to understand the mechanisms, the roles of professionals and legal procedures. This site is accessible to all, free of charge, allowing people to acquire the basic notions on this theme. Other modules will be added.
The Hubertine Auclert Centre covers the entire Île-de-France region, which is a vast territory. This is why e-learning formats are and will be even more strongly promoted as a complement to face-to-face training.
Finally, as a resource centre, we offer a large range of resources (films, exhibitions, studies, etc.) for everyone, in the Egalithèque .
The main objective of our training courses is to work on opening up the field of possibilities, through a more detailed knowledge of gender issues in our daily practices. Whether you are a leader or an elected official of a municipality, it is essential to have a gendered reading of the proposed activities or the policies implemented in order to act so that they are more egalitarian.
Contact François Grolier: firstname.lastname@example.org
David LOPEZ, Popular Education Coordinator EPALE France.