The Government must introduce more activation measures to encourage long-term unemployed women back to work.
And employers should give more consideration to hiring talented women who want to return to work after raising children.
The calls were made last night as the head of a global movement which promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women praised an Irish branch which has helped 160 women find work since it was founded three years ago.
The chief executive officer of Dress for Success (DFS) Worldwide Joi Gordon — a New York-based former attorney general — and vice president Liz Carey, were in Cork to mark the second anniversary of the Cork affiliate.
Dress for Success is a global not-for-profit organisation founded in New York in 1997. It is now in more than 140 cities in 19 countries — including Cork and Dublin — and has helped more than 650,000 women work towards self-sufficiency.
The organisation supports women into the workplace by providing work appropriate clothes, mentoring and a network of support and career development tools.
DFS Cork, founded by Carmel O’Keeffe in 2012, has helped 160 clients find jobs, helped 193 clients secure job interviews, styled 137 ladies, encouraged 90 back in to education and attracted 63 individual sponsors.
Ms O’Keeffe said they have exceeded all their targets but despite the fragile economic recovery, job opportunities are still thin on the ground.
“We have ladies from all backgrounds — from Masters and honours students, and a PhD, to those with less skills,” she said. “Those who aren’t skilled are finding it very difficult to find work. We are a university city and students take a lot of the jobs in the retail and hospitality sector.
“Job opportunities are not as plentiful as people think. And childcare is still very expensive.”
She has called on the Government to consider more activation measures and she called on employers to be sympathetic towards the huge cohort of women in their late 30s and early 40s who are seeking to return to work.
“They are amazing women, a huge untapped resource, and so employable, who could work part- time three or four days a week,” she said.
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