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Blowing our own trumpets - Women Making a Difference.

07 March 2011

Once upon a time, not very long ago Lynda Wright told her story on a Chicago radio station. Having lost her job, Lynda had drained what resources she had on rent, food and clothes for her children. She barely had the fare to a job interview never mind buying a suitable interview outfit!

In June 1991, five women - including Lynda Wright - opened Bottomless Closet Chicago, the very first agency of its kind.

And now, here I am at The Women's Alliance (TWA) 2010 conference in Washington D.C., representing Fitted for Work Australia, realising that next year will be the 20th anniversary. Twenty years of services that provide interview clothing, new hope, and new skills for unemployed women to get jobs and achieve economic independence.

One woman's inspiring story, five women develop a new solution, thousands of other women throughout the world share the dream, and tens of thousands of disadvantaged women move on to better lives for themselves and their families.

Pleeze - remember that everything is metrics now, stop with the high-blown rhetoric. So ... the 25 member agencies of TWA have served over 130,000 women. And the percentage of women getting jobs after receiving the services of a member organization is 65 - 70%.

I came away from the Conference inspired - so much women talent being put to the public good - in that room, in that city, country - everywhere.

If you are feeling so-so, blasé, or ground-down by politics, the weather, the minutiae of our daily grind, let me introduce you to two fantastic young women.

Maggie Doyne at 19 went trekking in Nepal. A few years later, although she never got to University, she built and is the principal of Kopila Valley Children's Home.

In Mozambique Elizabeth Scharpf identified a business impediment she had never heard of. It was unmentionable. It was menstruation. Women were missing work and girls school because they couldn't afford sanitary pads. Now she has a factory in Rwanda producing pads made from banana leaves.

That's what I call \"putting the spirit of the season\" into practice.

Check out: www.thewomensalliance.org.

Other inspirational young women (and men too) http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/24/magazine/24volunteerism-t.html

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