First impressions can make or break an interaction, particularly at a job interview.
However, for some disadvantaged women, such as those getting back on their feet after experiencing family, domestic or sexual violence, the opportunity to present well may be out of reach.
Fortunately, Dress for Success has opened its first office in Newcastle, welcoming Hunter women from today (Thursday 21 February).
The organisation helps women achieve economic empowerment by providing style advice and a professional outfit suitable for a job interview.
It also offers women a support network and career development tools to help them achieve self-sufficiency.
Maitland MP and Shadow Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Assault, Jenny Aitchison, joined Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp at the official opening after donating dozens of pairs of shoes.
Ms Aitchison said there was an “enormous need” for a service like this.
“Women seeking work, or entering new employment, deserve to feel confident,” she said.
“The service is particularly vital for women who are disadvantaged.
“The expectations of women, in terms of what they wear to work, are very high, yet many women experience situations which make it difficult to assemble a job-ready wardrobe, such as surviving family, domestic or sexual violence, homelessness, incarceration or returning to work after having children.”
The donated shoes were collected by Women’s Network (Hunter NSW) and the Maitland Domestic Violence Committee during their Shoes for Thought project last November.
Mr Crakanthorp echoed Ms Aitchison’s sentiments.
“Clothes are important because, the reality is, impressions count,” he said.
“But the most important thing is that women come together in a space with other supportive women.
“That is the really transformative thing.”
The Newcastle Dress for Success office is co-located with Max Employment on Hunter Street, Newcastle.
The space was fitted out largely thanks to a $10,000 federal government grant.