A community volunteer organization in San Diego is confronting people with one of the many challenges poor women face while job hunting.
Members of the Junior League started wearing a little black dress on Monday and will do so for five days in a row as part of a fundraising campaign. The organization, which helps empower women to become interview-ready, is showing how not having work-appropriate clothes can harm women’s confidence and hold them back.
Each of the 50 women who are participating is wearing a pin that says “Ask me about my dress,” to invite people to donate clothes or money to support women in the workplace. Men can also join the campaign by wearing a black shirt or other garment every day.
Participants are using the hashtag #lbdi on Instagram to share the challenge.
“Many people don't have a very large closet,” Tiffany Hoffman, Junior League of San Diego's VP elect of marketing, told CBS. “For example, we work with transition-age foster youth, and when they transition out of the system — they leave — they oftentimes get one trash-bag full of stuff.”
“Ask me about my dress!” It is Day ☝️ of our Little Black Dress Initiative and our members are rockin’ it! We will be wearing the same black dress for five consecutive days to support our Initiative, to illustrate the effects poverty can have on access to resources, choices, confidence, and professional opportunities for families, children, and young adults. Did you know that transition-age foster youth are disparately affected by poverty and homelessness? Please support us by donating to @juniorleaguesd, whose projects and community partners make a real difference in the lives of at-risk children and families in San Diego. Please make a difference in our community by making a donation to #JLSDLBDI. #LBDI + #whyijlsd www.jlsd.org/lbdi
Entering the workforce is already difficult for women without them having to worry about their appearance.
Worldwide, women are more likely to live in poverty than men, and women in the US are 35% more likely to be poor. Lack of affordable child care, the gender gap, and low-paid work all factor into the discrepancy. Many women also end up missing out on employment opportunities because they lack access to menstrual products or safe water and sanitation to wash their clothes.
The Junior League aims to help women reach their full potential and ensure that affording to look professional is the least of their concerns. Launched in 2014 by the Junior League of London, 2020 marks the fourth year since the San Diego chapter has participated in the Little Black Dress Initiative. The organization raised $10,000 in one week during the 2019 initiative.