A not-for-profit organisation dedicated to creating positive first impressions is helping women to overcome disadvantage and get ahead in life.
Dress For Success Sydney (DFSS) fights against social inequality by providing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women with the means for presenting themselves at job interviews, court appearances and other key events.
The organisation will host a fundraising dinner on Wednesday to celebrate its triumphs and promote its services.
Founder of DFSS, Megan Etheridge said the event is crucial towards promoting awareness about disadvantaged women in the workplace.
“Indigenous women are overly represented in the unemployment statistics,”she said.
“All sorts of research have proved that particularly first appearances have a big impact on the successes of women in interviews and court appearances.”
The evening will feature a panelwith CEO of Australian Indigenous Minority Supplier Council, Natalie Walker, CEO of Reconciliation Australia, Leah Armstrong, CEO of LBF Consulting, Lani Blanco Francisand former client Tanika Perry.
The women will discuss educational and employment opportunities for Indigenous women.
Yaama Dhiyaan Hospitality Training provides vocational training for Indigenous Australians and has been supporting DFSS since its inception.
Founder Aunty Bethyl Van-Oploo acknowledged the continued inequality faced by Indigenous women.
“Everyone is entitled to an education and to go on their own pathway after, but a lot of our Indigenous people have been left behind. But we’re starting to catch up. It’s a very slow catch up,” she said.
Ms Francis said: “There is a significant increase of Indigenous women in leadership roles around the country.”
“The main challenge is not knowing where to go for the support to transition into business…[knowing] who’s out there, who’s doing it, who’s doing it well and who can assist.”
Every year the organisation assists 50,000 disadvantaged women internationally and strives to achieve equal opportunities for Indigenous women.
Ms Etheridge also hopes to boost awareness for DFSS’ services, attract funding support and involve more volunteers.
By Tiffany Ng