Educate, participate, share, help… these are the four defining pillars of the Monégasque branch of the Association of Women Business Owners (AFCEM). As part of a series of articles for International Women’s Day, Monaco Tribune had the pleasure of meeting with the Vice-President, Anne-Marie Noir.

After its inauguration 70 years ago, this global association is now made up of 120 countries and five million businesses across five continents. In 2004, the Monégasque branch was established and added to this network.

“In Monaco, female business owners contribute so much to the growth of the economy, but their work is not showcased enough,” revealed the Vice-President of the organisation. As such, AFCEM aims to make its members more visible in society and to create a network between them. According to Anne-Marie Noir, women lead a wide variety of businesses, whether that be “cosmetics companies, banks, jewellers or restaurants.”

Female entrepeneurs today

Raising a family at the same time as looking after a business is no easy task. In order to balance the two, the Vice-President believes organisation is the key. However, this “double labour” is not the only obstacle women face in their climb to the top.

As director of ASEPTA laboratories, a company producing skincare products, Anne-Marie Noir recognises how difficult it is for “female business owners to get the same recognition as their male counterparts.” Although the Principality is committed to achieving gender equality, this is “not always the case in other countries.”

Education plays an important role for equality

The lack of women in leadership roles could perhaps be due to “young women being too scared to pursue this sort of position.” According to Anne-Marie, it is crucial that we keep teaching young people that there is no such thing as a man or a woman’s job: anyone can pursue whichever career they choose. Fortunately, the tide is changing as more and more young women are striving to be their own boss and choose their own team.

Men and women each bring something unique to the table and by working together we will achieve much more

“A big project for the future”

After a year of disruption due to the health crisis, AFCEM hopes to get their work back on track in 2021. Several projects are in the making, notably a training programme to educate women about the current EU law on data protection and privacy.

Another important project in the works is one focusing on how men and women can work together in business. Feminism and the fight for gender equality is often viewed as an attack against men, but this organisation wants to show that “men and women each bring something unique to the table and by working together we will achieve much more.”

To support or become a member of AFCEM, you can get in touch via https://www.afce-monaco.org/contact or +33 (0) 6 08 26 26 82.