Mpowered, by women for women: Francesca Fenech Conti

Mpowered, by women for women: Francesca Fenech Conti

Campaigner & Women for Women Founder, meet the woman that wears many hats!

Francesca Fenech Conti is never too shy to speak about current issues and matters that matter. Which is why she is the perfect person to talk about female empowerment on our next podcast with Trudy Kerr. Scroll down to listen to the full podcast.

Francesca is the founder of the group called Women for Women. She also started famous groups in Malta like ‘Are You Being Served’ and ‘The Salott’. However, as Women for Women started to gain popularity, Francesca decided to focus all of her energy on helping women be the best version of themselves.

‘Back in 2015, Women for Women was just a discussion group. It all started in my kitchen while I was recovering from my hysterectomy. I felt like I need to communicate with other women about what I was going through. I already had the other two groups mentioned but I couldn’t direct my concerns and feelings to just women on those groups. That’s how Women for Women was born. It started as a group of 1,000 women getting together and now, we’re at 41K women.’

Press play to listen to the full podcast.

Women for Women is now, not just a regular Facebook group, but an official foundation which means that it can get sponsors and fundraising to continue to help more women from all walks of life, be it mothers, women in need, single mothers, and more.

‘I’m really proud of what we’re doing with Women for Women. Being a foundation also means that it can go on long after me. I hope that in years to come, it will continue to grow and help more and more women.’

Women for Women is a cause that Francesca set out from the heart. Its aim is to empower women with tools to be independent and support themselves and their children. It provides emergency help, education support and mentoring for women from all walks of life.

‘Patriarchy is still very evident today, in Malta in particular. It is changing but it is still very evident especially in our homes. We want to empower women that if they are in a bad situation, they can change themselves. We will give you a hand-up not a hand-out. Whenever, there is the need, we do give hand-outs to a lot of women. However, we want to emphasise that this is not a band-aid, and nothing comes free in life. It’s all about hard work.’

That is why, Women for Women focuses on education and the power that it has to empower women.

‘I went to University at the age of 48 and I studied social policy. Now, I’m doing my Masters. I had only studied till my O-levels before, but I always worked since I always had a ‘want to learn’ attitude. All I needed, to start studying, was a little encouragement and a small push from the people around me. Sometimes, you need to take the plunge and go for it. I guess you can say that Women for Women is based on my own personal experience which I believe is not unique.’

Francesca claims that there are so many women who need just a little push. Education has been empowering for her and for all the women she has helped.

‘Education can build you as an individual. It opened my mind to new realities. My motivator was to grow and to become a more self-aware and better version of myself. That is what we wish and strive for all women to have and experience. We were able to do this with the money that Mvintage donated as we managed to progress a lot of women into education. To see people progressing and wanting to better themselves is so beautiful.’

Switching to more recent matters, Francesca shines light on the issues that many women faced with the recent COVID-19 pandemic. The foundation helped several women, who became redundant, when it comes to buying food and paying their rent.

‘It’s always more difficult for women because of the children. Day cares and schools were closed so it was exceedingly difficult for women to go to work and, at the same time, take care of their children. Another issue is domestic violence. You’re living in the same house as your perpetrator, with no where to go and no money to do anything.’

A lot of people know Francesca as a feminist, and she claims, they are absolutely right…she is a feminist!

‘A lot of people have the wrong idea about feminism. It is not about hating men. The patriarchal system is not men’s fault. It is ingrained in us and that is the way we were always brought up. The system needs to change, and we must break the chain. If it weren’t for previous feminists, we’d still be in the kitchen. We have to give them some respect for that’.

On an ending note, Francesca claims that it is very simple for women to support women, and we agree! A compliment and not putting each other down goes a long way.

‘I want all women to have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Part of why I’m doing this is because my mother recently passed away and I believe that she had a lot of potential but did not have the chance. If I could help just one woman, I’d be incredibly happy.’

Thank you, Francesca for taking the time to speak to us on our podcast. As Trudy Kerr rightly said, never stop championing women!

If you wish to contact Francesca Fenech Conti, you can do so on Facebook here.