We’ve either been speaking at or delivering programs across a number of educational institutions. These have included Greystanes High School, Chester Hill High School, Gilmore College, Mentone Girls Grammar and Victoria University.
I had the great privilege of working with Gilmore College for Girls as part of the ‘Principal for a Day’ initiative. It was here that I met with Principal Bette Prange, who made me feel very welcome. I witnessed firsthand the joy and care teachers bring to their roles. To illustrate this Bette, who is an impressive woman, knows every student by name which is no mean feat considering Gilmore College has a student population of approximately 350, made up with over 52 nationalities. I was very fortunate to be given multiple opportunities to speak with these young women aged from 13 to 18 about Fitted for Work and what we do.
It was interesting talking to these young women about why an organisation like Fitted for Work exists. I explained why economic security and confidence are the two most important outcomes for a woman to develop if she wanted to be empowered to make choices for herself. In taking their questions and listening to their comments, it occurred to me that many of these young women were hearing this important message for the first time.
As an organisation, we have developed the wisdom through experience in assisting women who find themselves in need of our help. After a history of 10 years and assisting 20,000 women, we understand the problems and barriers our clients are faced with. This in turn gives us a unique insight as to what will assist young women build resilience. Resilience that will provide the armour they need when life throws them its inevitable challenges.
We also discussed vulnerability and why it’s ok to ask for help when you need it. We discussed the importance of knowing that there is no shame is asking and that there are organisations such as Fitted for Work who are there to assist. The importance of knowing, that in times of darkness, we need not be alone. We need the next generation of women to know that there are many women who have gone before them, who have faced enormous challenges and have not only survived but gone on to thrive.
After 10 years of testing a formula that works for women, Fitted for Work has a responsibility to pass on what we’ve learnt. At Fitted for Work, we see women experiencing disadvantage who don’t have the financial independence to live the lives they want to. We know that when women have hope, confidence and economic security through work, the flow on effect is transformational.
This month has taught us that we need to continue to initiate discussion and keep talking to young women and girls in our community, they need and deserve the opportunity to have meaningful conversations around resilience and vulnerability, to learn from women who have gone before them.