My Internship at Femme et Villes

photoFor the past two months, I have been interning at an organization called Femmes et Villes, or Women in Cities. The organization works around the world but it’s primarily focused in a small neighborhood of Montréal called Parc-Extension, or Parc-Ex. Although it’s next to the rather hip neighborhood of Mile-End, it’s not one of Montréal’s top tourism destinations. The main goal of Femmes et Villes in around the world, and especially in Montréal, is to make women and girls feel safe in their neighborhood, no matter where they are or what time of day it is. Low lighting, poorly maintained sidewalks, and street harassment not only makes women less likely to be involved but is also detrimental to a sense of community. We’re also involved in efforts such as community gardens to build relationships between new residents since turnover is very high. The neighborhood is home to many recent immigrants from South Asia, and many families have a “goal” to make enough money to move out.

I have really enjoyed my time there so far. We do most of our work in Québecois French, which was a little difficult to pick up at first, but I’ve got a fair bit of it down now! I’m still afraid of picking up the telephone, though. The workspace is really spacious and excellent for meetings. I’ll be presenting my own participant-observation proposal at a meeting that FVI is hosting for multiple community organizations on Friday afternoon. I’ve also had the chance to sit in on several meetings between FVI and representatives from the City of Montréal, which has been pretty eye-opening.

I’m looking forward to starting my own research project. Although I’ve done similar types of projects for class work, the results of my projects will establish where FVI needs to concentrate its work, what types of workshops to prepare an offer, and may spark further research. Hopefully, I’ll find something interesting to report once I get out into the field!

 

– Nora Anderson, Sociology/Anthropology and French Majors, Ohio Wesleyan University, Fall 2013