Aussie businesses urged to pledge one hour of pay to combat ‘she-cession’

It’s a fact that deserves immediate national attention – Australian women have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a ‘she-cession’ which is negatively impacting women today with potential ramifications for future generations, too.

Not-for-profit, volunteer run organisation Dress for Success is taking action and bringing awareness to the barriers women already face in getting a job and staying in the workforce. Their 2022 #EmpowerHour campaign is asking Australian businesses to ‘pay it forward’, with owners and employees donating ONE hour of their pay during the month of March at

Empower Hour has a small ask with huge potential to change the lives of women by helping them to achieve economic independence through a network of support and development tools that charts a course from welfare to the workforce.

Dress for Success CEO, Ms Leisa Sadler says, “If everyone pledged one hour of pay to help a woman who is struggling to achieve employment and financial stability, we would see real change. That’s why we are asking Australians to see their hour as more than a gift – it’s an investment in the future because we know that when women work, families thrive, communities prosper, and the economy grows.”

Dress for Success’ Empower Hour aims to raise $250,000, which will enable them to transition hundreds of women back into employment following the devastating impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Ms Sadler adds, “It’s clear from statistics and stories collated over the last few years that the COVID-19 global pandemic has disproportionately impacted women from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds and women-led job roles. As primary caregivers, women more often hold casual and part-time roles – the first to be impacted by lockdowns. Women are also more likely to leave work to take on caregiving roles.

“It’s important to remember that, while we have reached a three-year mark living with COVID-19, there are still thousands of women seeking employment. Helping these women get back into the workforce with confidence is what #EmpowerHour strives to do. The average full-time employee works around 2000 hours a year. We’re asking for one hour,” Ms Sadler concludes.

Now in its sixth year, the #EmpowerHour campaign supports Dress for Success’s mission to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools, free of charge, that help women thrive in work and in life.

Dress for Success’ #EmpowerHour is a simple and meaningful way for individuals, workplaces and the broader community to pay it forward. It’s a time to celebrate women and come to together to #BreaktheBias. Powered by volunteers, every year Dress for Success Australian Affiliates support more than 5000 women into employment across the country, helping them overcome bias and discrimination when entering or re-entering the workforce – at no cost to the women needing the services.

Visit to pledge your hour today.

Where does the money raised from Empower Hour go?

  • $1000: Transform a woman’s future with six months of one-on-one career coaching, resume drafting support, interview preparation, access to digital career support workshops and webinars, connections to prospective employers and a full week’s wardrobe when she gets the job.
  • $350: Provides professional clothing and access to digital workshops, resume and mock interview support.
  • $200: Provides a woman a styling session with a fashion stylist and clothing.
  • $150: Provides access to three professional development workshops.
  • $50: Provides a woman resume drafting and mock interview support to help her secure and nail that interview.
  • $25: Provides a woman one-on-one resume drafting support with a Recruitment Specialist.