Women still face significant barriers when it comes to entering and progressing in the workplace. That’s according to Sonya Lennon, designer, tech entrepreneur and founder of Dress for Success Dublin.
Dress for Success Dublin provides women with the clothing, skills and confidence needed to succeed in the workplace. Speaking today (07.02.16) at the launch of the organisation’s annual International Women’s Day campaign, Sonya said: “In recent decades, there have been great strides made in terms of gender equality and promoting women’s participation in the workplace. However, a lot remains to be done.
“Women in Ireland earn only €87 for every €100 earned by men. At the current rate of change, it will take until the year 2133 for the economic gap between women and men to close. The percentage of women in the workforce here is 63 per cent, compared to 77 per cent of men. And the percentage of women in senior government and management positions still remains very low.”
International Women’s Day Campaign
International Women’s Day (IWD) falls on 8th March each year and, at today’s launch, Sonya Lennon called on workplaces of all sizes to join Dress for Success Dublin’s IWD campaign to celebrate the economic achievements of women.
“We aim to break down the gender pay gap by offering individual supports to women looking to gain employment and showcasing the amazing women participating in workplaces across Ireland,” she said. “Our IWD campaign is also an opportunity for workplaces to highlight the positive steps they are taking to support their female employees and to promote gender equality.
“This is the third year in a row that we’re celebrating International Women’s Day by running a major fundraising and clothing collection campaign. We’re calling on workplaces to get behind us, and mark IWD by holding a fundraiser or clothing drive to support our work.
“Dress for Success Dublin receives no State funding, and is entirely dependent on fundraising, corporate support and grants to provide our services. So this campaign is hugely important to ensure we can continue to support women into the workforce.
“We’d love to see hundreds of companies – no matter how large or small – getting involved. This is a perfect opportunity for workplaces to celebrate and promote the achievements of the fabulous women on their teams.”
Events taking place as part of the Dress for Success Dublin campaign will range from coffee mornings and fashion shows to networking and skills-sharing events. The headline sponsor of the 2016 campaign is eir.
Commenting on eir’s support for the campaign, Carolan Lennon, Wholesale Managing Director, open eir, said: “eir has been a proud supporter of Dress for Success Dublin since 2011. The core idea behind Dress for Success Dublin is simple; providing that first suit for interview, training, interview skills and career mentorship, but these elements prove invaluable for any person hoping to start a career or return to the workforce. These supports give women in our community the confidence to get that job, providing them with independence and a sustainable future for themselves and their families.
“Sustainability is a key part of eir’s Corporate Social Responsibility agenda and that’s why this partnership works for us. When a woman works, her family benefits and her spending positively impact the local community. Life and career skills are a vital part in her journey and this is what Dress for Success Dublin provides. To mark International Women’s Day 2016, eir will again host a suit drive, it has become something our colleagues look forward to and last year they donated thousands of items of work wear and accessories, we hope to collect even more this year.”
Other workplaces confirmed to participate in the IWD campaign include: BNY Mellon, Boots, Computershare, Eversheds, Executive Connections, GLG and Salesforce.
Impact of Dress for Success Dublin
Since Dress for Success Dublin was founded in 2010, it has supported over 1,100 women to develop skills in applying for and finding jobs, and developing their careers on an ongoing basis. Fifty-seven per cent of women supported by the organisation have gained employment, while 75 per cent state they are where they want to be, whether working or in further education and training.
Further information on how workplaces can get involved in Dress for Success Dublin’s IWD campaign is available at: www.dressforsuccessdublin.org.