In days gone by, Megan Etheridge would dress herself for work each morning, walk out the door then back in at day’s end. Not that things were boring. In fact at the time, weekly volunteering was not just satisfying but the thread that would connect Megan to the future she was yet to create.
It was Megan’s insights into the difficulties women face when struggling to find and keep a job, and her desire to help people and create meaning in her own life, that inspired her to set up a Sydney affiliate of the charity organisation Dress for Success.
How does Dress for Success help?
Dress for Success helps support women—in very practical ways—to get into the workforce and keep their jobs.
“We help women take their lives in their own hands and move forward,” Megan says.
Whether it’s helping someone identify a job that would suit them, coaching them in mock interviews or coordinating an outfit that boosts their confidence and makes their face light up in the mirror, Dress for Success ultimately helps women transform their own lives through securing work.
But support doesn’t stop there. Women can brush up on keyboard and computer skills, attend regular support groups and a mentoring program if they’re finding it difficult to sustain their jobs.
“Women in need are everywhere. They could live next door to you… have come out of prison, a divorce, domestic violence or had an accident. And they’re trying to get back to work or may never have worked,” says Megan.
Moving on from the kitchen…
It’s just over six years since Megan first shared her ideas with a small group of like-minded women around her kitchen table. In that time Dress for Success has gone on to help more than 9,000 women overcome the obstacles of getting back into the workforce.
The organisation now runs on 15,000 hours of time donated by 200 volunteers and a small number of committed employees. It’s making a big difference in the lives of Australian women from all walks of life.
...to glamour on the red carpet
Recently, Megan and many well-known Australian faces attended the spectacular 100 years of power dressing event in Sydney. The red-carpet event featured one of the world’s most coveted collections of vintage haute couture. And as celebrities modelled the collection a fascinating history of rare dresses from designers like Chanel, Dior and Valentino—and the women who wore them—unfolded under the spotlight...
It was a huge success and is well covered in the media.
Like to get involved?
These days Megan still gets dressed every morning but her sense of purpose and fulfilment are her favourite accessories.
Perhaps you’d like to make a difference too—by donating clothing, money or your time as a volunteer. Visit the Dress for Success website and find out how you can help.
If you thought it was taboo, it's customary in many countries around the world to give money.