Karen Hackett, Head of People Experience at Permanent; Andrew Brownlee, CEO of SOLAS, the Further Education and Training Authority and Angela Smith, CEO of WorkEqual
Longford women seeking support to enter the workforce or progress their careers can now avail of the services on offer from WorkEqual, a charity that provides professional styling, mentoring, workshops and career consulting programmes, free of charge.
WorkEqual began life 10 years ago as Dress for Success Dublin but, this week, announced its rebrand and new name – to reflect the fact its service provision is now available nationwide.
Commenting last week, WorkEqual CEO Angela Smith said: “Dress for Success has made a huge difference to thousands of women over the past decade. The focus has been to equip women to enter or return to the workforce. WorkEqual will bolster this work with significantly enhanced initiatives aimed at helping women reach their full potential.
“Over the past decade, we have developed into a national organisation with over 40 expert volunteers, providing a range of services for women seeking employment. We are proud to have supported more than 3,000 women in total, 60% of whom have gone on to secure a job or return to education.
“Under our new brand, WorkEqual, we will bolster this work with mentoring initiatives, bespoke training programmes, and one-to-one coaching. We’re also very excited to now advocate for women generally within the employment sphere at national level. We have the expertise on the ground to advise policymakers on how we can ensure men and women are equally valued in employment.”
WorkEqual will continue to provide all its existing services, including confidence coaching, interview and CV preparation, mentoring and styling services. The rebrand of the charity is taking place to reflect the expanding range of employment services for women across Ireland, who are seeking to enter or re-enter the workplace.
Last week, WorkEqual also launched its annual awareness-raising campaign on gender equality in the workplace. The campaign has run each year since 2016 and is sponsored by SOLAS, the further education and training authority, and Permanent TSB.
This year, the campaign will focus on childcare and how family caring duties impact on workplace gender equality.
The month-long campaign officially begins on Monday, 1st November, and will include a number of key events and actions taking place across the month.
Events will include a special meeting of the WorkEqual All-Party Oireachtas Group on Equal Pay Day on Monday, 8th November – the day on which women in Ireland effectively stop earning, relative to men, because of the gender pay gap. A flagship seminar will take place on Thursday, 25th November, featuring international guest speakers, showcasing best practice in public childcare provision.
There will also be a panel discussion on the challenges and solutions from an Irish perspective, with panellists including:
The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman TD;Frances Byrne, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Early Childhood Ireland; Mark Paul, Business Affairs Correspondent with The Irish Times; and Sonya Lennon, founder of WorkEqual.
Commenting on the launch of the campaign, Angela Smith continued: “This year, our annual campaign will explore how to reform the provision of childcare in Ireland, where we have one of the highest costs for parents in the EU.
“Our campaign will be furthering the conversation about the practical steps we can take at national and local levels for policy and legislative change, as well as the ways that individual employers can shape their workplaces to facilitate greater participation and progression for women.
“We look forward to learning from international experts and pushing the conversation in Ireland forward. We hope to see lots of Longford people engaging with our campaign and attending our free seminar on 25th November. Anyone with an interest in childcare, gender equality and workplace relations is welcome to attend.”
Registration for the free WorkEqual seminar in late November is open now. To register, see eventbrite.ie.
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