Celebrated since 1911, International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and this year, the campaign theme is #BalanceforBetter, a call-to-action for driving gender balance across the world.
Balance is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue. The race is on for the gender-balanced boardroom, a gender-balanced government, gender-balanced media coverage, a gender-balance of employees, more gender-balance in wealth, gender-balanced sports coverage … From IWD Campaign Theme
And this UK charity is working hard with unemployed women to redress that balance. Named Social Action Charity of the Year 2017, Smart Works provides high quality interview clothes and interview training to unemployed women in need. Referred from organisations such as job centres, work programmes, prisons, care homes, homeless shelters and mental health charities, a half of these women have been unsuccessful in over 20 applications and a third have been turned down from over 50 jobs. Long term unemployment and rejection after rejection can soon lead to feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy.
Operating in five cities across the UK, Smart Works offers a two-hour dressing and coaching service for unemployed women with confirmed job interviews. Each member of the Smart Works team is skilled in making these women feel relaxed and welcomed from the moment they walk through the door. Relating woman to woman, there is no embarrassment or inhibition. All these women are suffering from a lack of confidence in their own abilities. The team believes in the power of the right clothing and interview preparation to give each woman the confidence, the self-belief and the practical tools required to succeed at interview and transform her life.
And it works! 60% of these clients go on to get the job!
Last year 58 teams from all of our UK locations competed to raise £40,000 for Smart Works which helped us to support over 3000 women across the UK, empowering them to be their best, succeed at their job interviews and move forward with their lives. Their 2019 Spin for Smart Works ends 8th March on International Women’s Day so here’s hoping this year is even more of a success.
Once a client is successful at interview, she is welcomed back for a Second Dressing to receive five additional pieces of clothing, so that she can start her new role with a capsule working wardrobe to see her through until her first pay cheque. When clients re-enter the workplace, they are encouraged to join the Smart Works Network, a membership group of women who have recently returned to work.
Here at Yogamatters, we celebrate the work of Smart Works and applaud their support for women and their practical outworking of #BalanceforBetter. This is an important time in history to do everything possible to help forge a more gender-balanced world. The future is exciting. Everyone has a part to play – all the time, everywhere. How will you help make a difference today?