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Have a plan, change a life


“The women begin to see perhaps there is a glimmer of hope - maybe their life could look differently.”


Image: Supplied by Go Girls Foundation


Despite living in the so-called “lucky country”, life isn’t always easy for many women across Australia.


Research from Our Watch shows over 50,000 women experience homelessness every year in Australia. One in three women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15 and one in five will experience depression in their lifetime.


For women living at-risk - whether that be because they are new to the country and feeling isolated from their community, struggling to find secure housing, escaping domestic violence, or experiencing depression or anxiety - lack of empowerment in their own lives can weigh heavily on their confidence.


The concept of supporting women to find permanent employment and improve their financial wellness is what led myself and Rita Bottomley to create Go Girls Foundation in 2008.


Taking control


Combining my corporate background as a management consultant and leadership facilitator with Rita’s career in psychology and counselling meant we were able to tackle both factors which lead to long-term unemployment for women and also the psychological impacts that may contribute to their circumstances.


Today, our five-month Work Ready program assists women from all walks of life to break the cycle of whatever situations may be holding them back from taking control of their life.


Unlike a traditional employment course, the Go Girls Work Ready program develops practical job skills while also placing an emphasis on positive psychology. We don’t simply give the women in our program jobs. We work with them to determine what their dream job may be but also what a realistic job might be for them to start tomorrow and begin their journey to financial wellness. At the same time, we offer ongoing support from psychologists and facilitators to unravel some of the trauma which may be holding these women back from reaching their true potential.


At the end of the program, 50 per cent of the women secure sustainable full-time employment, 20 per cent find part-time or casual employment and another 20 per cent enroll in a course of study to work towards their dream job.



Partnering for change


ANZ has a long history of supporting the communities in which we live and work through a workplace giving program, employee volunteering and the ANZ Community Foundation.


The ANZ Community Foundation is funded by regular contributions made by ANZ employees, which is double matched by ANZ. The Foundation aims to support projects run by charitable organisations which offer a direct and tangible benefit to local communities.


Each year, the Foundation provides grants to charities throughout Australia. In 2020 ANZ donated $A15,000 to support three women through the Go Girls Work Ready Program, changing the lives of her and her family.



Building a network


For many women who join the program, the first step is to begin to chip away at the psychological, and potentially physical, traumas which may have contributed to the disadvantage they are facing. As trust develops, the women begin to see perhaps there is a glimmer of hope - maybe their life could look differently.


During the program, Go Girls works with industry partners to assist the women with resume building, interview skills, ongoing mentoring and a new outfit and makeover so they look as good as they feel.


We know building a network is critical to finding meaningful, sustainable employment so we partner the women with one or two links to their dream job and another three for their real job. These partners meet regularly with the women and assist them with any questions or feedback needed at that point. These are partnerships which endure well beyond the five months of our program.



Dee’s story


“I was in a cycle of domestic violence. Go Girls gave me the confidence and skills to apply for jobs. They helped me to take ownership and I am a force to be reckoned with. I received unconditional support, patience and guidance. I am a single mum working full-time. I love my life.”


Read more stories like Dee’s on the Go Girls Facebook page



Life feels different


I’m so proud of what Rita and I have built in Go Girls, but I know our work isn’t done yet. For me, I’ll feel as though we have succeeded when every woman across Australia who needs help has access to it. I don’t want any woman not to have the opportunity to change her life.


At Go Girls, we're doing more than just guiding women into work - we're making them well and whole again.


Michelle Jobson is Co-founder of the Go Girls Foundation


Click here to learn more about the program. Donate to the Go Girls Work Ready Program by purchasing a Go Girl bag here.



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