WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – To celebrate Women’s History Month, Spectrum News 1 is highlighting women and organizations in our communities that are making a difference and lifting one another up.
One of those organizations is Dress for Success, a global nonprofit organization that empowers women to economic independence by providing no-cost professional attire and employment training.
There are Dress for Success locations in 125 cities across the nation and in 25 countries around the world.
Robin Barksdale, the executive director of the Winston-Salem affiliate, spoke with Spectrum News 1 about the organization’s programs and incentives.
“We help women get empowered, in any number of ways, whether you’re a job seeker, whether you’re currently employed or whether you’re interested in becoming a leader in the community,” Barksdale said. “We seek ways to connect with other women and just become a wellspring of support for other women throughout the community.”
Dress for Success was created in 1997, but now, in 2022, the organization says it’s moving beyond the suit.
As the popularity of three-piece suits moved out, Dress for Success has worked to provide more job readiness skills, leadership skills, emotional IQ and a lot of mentoring and coaching.
“We absolutely do still provide attire; we will continue to provide attire for women. Everyone knows when you look good, you feel good,” Barksdale explained. “What we really do is the confidence-building and the connection to mentoring and coaching that makes a world of difference.”
According to Payscale, there’s a 2 cent pay gap between men and women in positions with similar education and experience; the gap often is greater for minority women.
“If a woman is affected, the entire family is affected…” Barksdale said. “Two cents doesn’t sound like a lot, but it oftentimes, over the long haul, will be the difference between generational poverty and not.”
Barksdale said Dress for Success will be a voice in the conversation about closing that gap.
To donate clothes or participate in any programming for Dress for Success, click here.