Women @ Work: Creative Approaches to Female Economic Empowerment



women at work creative approaches to female economic empowerment I'm Daniel Wilkinson I'm the program manager for economic empowerment for switchboard and I'm joined by sabah imran the newest member of the switchboard economic empowerment team really excited to have her on board she comes to us from the IRC and Elizabeth New Jersey and before that the International Institute in st. Louis Missouri I'm also excited to be joined by a couple of guest speakers today that are going to be sharing about their programs we have Nisha Washington from the IRC in Silver Spring Maryland and Helen Schweitzer who is the director of resettlement at refugee 1 in Chicago so before we get started I just wanted to share a couple tech tips in case you're having any issues with the audio with your computer you can call in by phone and the information is right there for you the phone number and the audio pin so hopefully that's not the case but if it is usually the phone audio is pretty good as we go along please type your questions into the chat box at any time I'm going to be monitoring those as we go along and we should have a solid twenty minutes or so at the end for Q&A we know that sometimes people attend as a group and not necessarily everybody might not be registered so if that's you if you wouldn't mind just sending us a quick email or putting it in the chat put in your name and your email and sharing that with us that would be helpful just so we can track who all is here and also so we can send you the follow up resources usually the first question is always will the recording and slides be shared the answer is yes we'll be sharing those at switchboard ta org usually they're up within a day or two after the webinar and not just the slides but also the video recording so what are our learning objectives today where are we going by the end of today's webinar we hope that you will be able to describe the characteristics of employment services that promote gender equality and gender equity these are two things that I think we're all committed to but we don't always have the language or the framework to talk about it or or necessarily have clear ideas about exactly what those things mean secondly we want identify best practices and creative approaches to supporting the job readiness and career success of female clients and finally we're gonna have a highlight of one alternative career pathway that may appeal to some female clients of course there's many possibilities when it comes to alternative career pathways and so what I mean by that is like micro-enterprise and different like in-home childcare different types of pathways that might not be your traditional jobs and so we're not going to be able to cover all of them but we're excited to be able to share one program model and hopefully learn some lessons from that so before we get started we just wanted to ask a discussion question and get some interaction from you guys and see what you think so before we get before I hand things over to Saba who's going to give us a little bit of a framework of gender sensitive employment services I just want to know from you guys what are some characteristics of employment services that empower women in your opinion so just go ahead and type your answer into the chat all right we're starting to get some answers coming in child care services available Thank You Kerri equal pay Monica wrote that in money with a smiley face day care options health care yeah these are all all great answers a lot of child care services popping up no language barriers transportation sick leave benefits educational empowerment transportation so there's a lot there's actually too many I can't read them all but thank you thank you for all of your input and your answers and now I'm gonna hand things over to Saba Emraan and she's gonna share with us a little framework of what we mean when we say gender sensitive employment services and go ahead Saba thanks Daniel so Thank You Daniel hi everyone today's topic is very exciting in person to me being a female and working within the economic empowerment team today we will be discussing what gender equality and gender equity mean review the definitions for both of these terms we will also try to understand what the goals of gender sensitive and general transformative programs are and most importantly what it looks like in practice within Employment programs so let's start with gender equality what does it mean despite popular belief gender equality does not mean that men and women are the same rather gender equality promotes the idea that both men and women have rights responsibilities and access and opportunities in life and these are not dependent on whether they are born male or female when I was working at the International Institute of st. Louis one of the tasks I was involved with was conducting interviews for client during these sessions I've tried to ensure I got responses from to my questions from both the female and male clients we all are aware how difficult it can be at times to have female clients respond directly to our questions I didn't realize at that time I was supporting gender equality and similarly I'm sure you are also promoting gender equality in your roles as well gender equity on the other hand refers to the process of being fair to men and women in other words gender equity is about leveling the playing field by addressing any imbalances in the benefits opportunities or resources available to male or females gender equity leads to gender equality for example an affirmative action policy that promotes increased support to female owned businesses may be gender acquittal because it leads to ensuring equal rights opportunities and outcomes among men and women as you can see from this slide the role of gender in service program can range from either being gender exploitive to gender transformative we obviously don't want to be gender exploitive or gender neutral in our program so then what does it mean to be gender sensitive and gender transformative being gender sensitive acknowledges that differences exist between genders without focusing on changing these inequalities and actions and responses are based on these differences so what this means to me is that differences exist in the genders and not working to change these differences on the other hand gender transformative programs actively seek to transform harmful gender roles norms and expectations in an ideal world we would want a programs and services to be gender transformative and in a few minutes I will talk about a few ways that employment programs can move in that direction but the first step is to ensure that our programs are at least gender sensitive gender sensitive programs are programs that are designed with consideration of existing gender gaps which respond to different gendered needs and constraints gender sensitive program acknowledged the role of gender norms and inequities and develop activities to adjust to or compensate them compensate for them and do not actively aim to change norms but strive to limit the impact of harmful gender norm again all programs we were striving to be at least gender sensitive whenever possible Employment Program should strive to be gender transformative meaning they actively seek to address and transform harmful gender norms roles and expectations and an example can be including activities for participants to develop awareness and question and redefine gender norms and for us in the context of employment it will be goals and decisions so what does this look like in practice here are a few practical steps that you can take to promote gender equality and equity in your Employment Program we want to create opportunities for women to discuss their experience and provide feedback on the services we offer for example having female specific focus group discussions or support groups we also want to begin collecting gender specific data on our programs in order to identify where adjustments may be needed to improve women's ability to access and succeed in our programs and this can be as simple as having an attendance sheet to see number of females versus males who attended a specific program if possible offer employment services at times and locations that are convenient and comfortable for female clients we also want to host occasional or regular women's job readiness groups that focus specifically on preparing women for the u.s. workforce we also want try to be intentional with job development efforts to ensure that we are developing employment for our partnerships that companies that align with the preferences and career goals of female clients and last but at least like Dan mentioned earlier we want to develop alternative career pathways for example a micro-enterprise program that allows women to capitalize on skills they already have I'd like to mention here that these recommendations are taken from the newly published switchboard info guide on the topic of supporting the career pathways or FEMA clients so I'd encourage you to go to the website and check that out after the webinar and lastly I hope this has been thought-provoking and useful and adding language the work you are already doing and thinking about the different ways we can create strategies to promote female economic empowerment yeah so now we're just going to hear about two kids successful case studies but before we get into that we have an activity and for that I will hand it back to Daniel so there you go all right thanks Sara it's good to to think about the framework that we're working out of and the goals that we have in terms of how we can empower our female clients and I would encourage you guys maybe later on after we send out the slides to to look at those bullets again and and also look at the info guide that saba mentioned that was just posted to our website yesterday you can find it on the front page and just think about at least maybe one of those areas that that your program might be able to improve in over the coming year so we're gonna do a poll before we get to our case studies and so you also you already see the question on the screen and so you've probably already thought about it so I'm just gonna launch this first poll question has your organization implemented economic empowerment programs specifically focused on women yes/no or unsure we're gonna launch that and go ahead and put in your answer right now we've got about close to 50% saying yes all right give you just maybe five more seconds to cast your votes all right I'm going to close this poll and let's share the results okay so we ended up right at 50% free for those who said yes 31% for no and 19% for unsure so the 19% makes me think we need to clarify some things and I hope that not only the framework that we just provided and some of the things Saba shared a minute ago but also our case studies that we have coming up will clarify a little bit further for those of you who are unsure what it is that we mean and maybe give you some ideas that that you can implement in your program all right so I'm going to go ahead and hide this poll now we're going to go back to the presentation and I'm gonna hand things over to Nisha Washington at IRC and she's gonna share a little bit about the women's employability program at the IRC in Maryland go ahead Nisha hello so I'm Nisha I work in the IRC Silver Spring office which is part of a broader IRC Maryland office which includes Silver Spring in Baltimore I'm gonna share a little bit today about our women's employability program that was implemented in Silver Spring and Baltimore we pilot it for one year and then it was implemented for two years I apologize this slide just went away the golda program was to basically serve women and youth with barriers to employment so we only serve our in took people who had more significant barriers to employment Nicole this was to increase household income increase reliance on public assistance and then all so these feelings of isolation so we did this in a number of ways so we focus on economic self-sufficiency and community orientation economic self-sufficiency we focus on providing individualized services making sure that we were really seeing on client's needs or the women's needs and being responsive that when we were designing their individual employment plan though older program again was to serve folks who were either underserved or were unable to be served by traditional programming so our program was designed to basically take into account the needed a different sort of Employment Opportunity perhaps an employer that was more flexible they've you know different hours that was more open to women who were preliterate or had higher barriers we were focused on paying those opportunities with regards the community orientation we held about twelve hours worth of job training classes that came with 12 hours of education think group typically language groups but we did have like two language language going at a time and this was to orient women to the job market but also to introduce them to other women and community so the staffing model was one employment coordinator so me and then two employment specialists it's out of Silver Spring in Baltimore offices employment specialists who provide things like mince the pork is management a little bit of case management production and the coordinator will work between the two sites managing the data and making sure is wrong track this is an example of sort of our program outputs and outcomes the goals that were placed upon us through funders so again like each year we served about 140 clients we were supposed to get you know sixty percent of the participants to be placed and then seventy to eighty percent of job retention and then 60 percent access to employment with benefits we typically hit a lot of these numbers the only issue would probably be with regards to accessing health benefit because we're working with people with whom or significant careers to implement typically the type of improvement we would find with more time with decent wages or high wages or full time for folks who are interested in in production opportunities most of the jobs that we found do not have access to benefits because of the need for flexibility and a little bit about the kinds of barriers that we would see when come into the program would be things like lack of childcare guys go backwards do things like lack of childcare lack of English proficiency that nature and so you see here this is an example of two years worth of collecting data on the program so you can see from starting from the right side is the amount of various folks came into and on the left side is remaining barrier so we're able to reduce barriers for most of our clients again many of them came in compound barriers was really interesting to see that the key to success in the program was very reduction making sure that you know if the client came in with the limited English or a need for child care that we were able to either reduce that barrier and able to employment not all people who came into our program were able to successfully complete implementation tension for this client about a year or so or or two or more years our goal would change based on the client's needs again this was just to make sure that our program was responsive to the client's needs and in gender sensitive so here's an example of some of our outcomes as you can see we have the majority we had some full-time placement so we also had several find placements key industries would be production retail hospitality and cleaning services so we did find that this was key to success we working with them players that kind of had more flexible schedules we're more open to entry-level employment and and that our clients actually wanted to work in so we did have you know some some career placements in childcare interpretation services or administrative Durov our basements were in production retail again retail because there's more flexible schedules but there's also some customer service attainment and then food service of course because there's there's more flexible schedules as well we did have a really good retention rate so if you see that about 90 percent of our clients were retained for 90 days or more so that was really impressive it's the words we were able to get on a job you know they did keep the job and then we had about eighteen thousand dollars annually that was gained in supplemental income each year so an example of a success story we like to tell is mylène who yeah so she was a lovely single mother from Cameroon cheese's tighly she came to our program in the midst of a housing crisis which of the fact she had recently had a child and could not have attained childcare because she cannot have in childcare she could not work and therefore she could not pay rent so when my lien came to us we were quickly with our case management team helped her secure housing but also to navigate our complex of care subsidy system here in Maryland we were able to obtain we were able to pay in child care vouchers for her help her with big care and then also help her find a survival job at the moment but once she had obtained that survival job she was able to enroll in English classes through a partner as well as I mean her body my certificate her career development program and that program she obtained a medical escort position that was paying a high livable wage at least into 20 dollars per hour possible schedule and now she's on course to continue her medical studies she would like to be a registered nurse and so we wish her the best in that and definitely had to support her so that's an example of our program model I think a lot of the learning that we took from it was important to monitoring you know what's going on with clients like what kinds of barriers are there coming in to how successful are our interventions and if our program is responsive to their needs all right thanks a lot Nisha for sharing your program and the success story with us we are actually gonna go to another oops sorry let me go back to that oh we're gonna go to another poll here real quick before we start our next case study I also apologize for the there was a bit of a choppy connection on that last one last case study hopefully our connection will be a little bit better moving forward we are trying to see what we can do to troubleshoot it but hopefully hopefully we'll be good moving forward so let's start this next poll all right so the next one is has your organization explored alternative career pathways for women for whom traditional jobs are not a good fit yes/no or unsure go ahead and choose your answer on that and also while you're doing that I'll just remind you all if you have any questions coming to mind please type those in the chat we are watching those as we go and we'd love to have would love to be able to answer whatever questions you have either on the framework that we shared in the beginning or about some of these specific programs all right I'll give you guys another 5 seconds or so for the poll we'll close that out all right so a little similar to before we had 53% yes 30% no and 17% unsure so that's encouraging to see that over half of you have have explored either are looking into it or have already started some kind of alternative career pathways program or referring your clients to career alternative career pathways programs we would love to hear from you and hear about your success stories and innovative approaches so please reach out to us and let us know what you're doing in your program so that we can highlight that for the future all right let me hide this poll and then I'm gonna hand things over to Helen from refugee one all right Thank You Daniel my name is Helen Switzer I'm the director of resettlement at refugee 1 in Chicago and I'm going to be talking a little bit today about our vocational sewing program the program started in the fall of 2017 I started out of a desire to provide vocational training and alternative job opportunities for a lot of these Syrian refugee clients that we had arriving late 2016 and 2017 we found that a lot of the woman of the Syrian woman had trouble accessing these traditional jobs for cultural reasons they were largely from big families and so they had a lot of children at home so child care was always an issue they had difficulty navigating transportation most men never worked before so I'll hope was to provide a class they would provide them with some skills where they could earn income from a variety of different avenues these different avenues included full time perhaps in factories part-time or full-time doing alterations and dry cleaners and costume shops things like that we were also hoping to develop a signature product that we would be able to sell through our website and also hoped to enable the ladies to take work home which is what most of them wanted to do so from 2017 the fall we have had 86 students graduate from our classes 95% of them have been female and then we've had 5% of men they have been from 18 countries we are currently providing two classes beginner class and an advanced class both classes meet two days a week for three hours and they are structured 12-week sessions they are very employment focused so we try and provide all the skills that they will need to be able to work outside of this outside of the class we do also embed one hour of employment focused English within each of the levels attendance we try and keep it similar to having a job we stress the importance of coming on time if they are late we have a late jar and they have to put in a quarter if they are not going to be able to come they have to let the teacher know and if they miss three classes without letting the teacher know we tell them that they no longer have a spot in the class we do provide childcare and we do try and gather their feedback from the classes at our graduation at the end of each session 12-week session we do have a graduation where we combine beginner and advanced classes and we do ask them then for they feedback what they liked about the class what would have made the class better what they would like to learn next time so we do trying to empower them by giving them an opportunity to give us feedback on the classes so we were hoping that the students in the beginner class would be able to learn the basic sewing skills I'm using Industrial machines which many of them had not used before most of our students do move up from the beginner class and then complete the advanced class as well and in the advanced class we try and focus on professional alterations and creating garments from scratch so right now our advanced class is working on making a pair of pants we hope that the woman will improve their English skills by coming to the classes and that they will gain a variety of skills through working on a number of different projects we hope that they'll be able to work for home from home work as a professional seamstress we hope to reduce their isolation we hope to be able to give all the students a new machine upon graduation and we also hope that they'll be able to learn more of the resources that are available to them such as visiting the library if they are looking for a job so to get started of course the first thing is funding we applied for the LRS integration grant which is a one-year grant which allowed us the opportunity to rent a space and hire teachers so we also were able to secure a fund from rivers casino they have a Employment Foundation and so because of them we were able to buy all-new industrial machines which was fabulous the grant also allows us to buy the new home machines that we give to all the students upon graduation the second thing we had to do was find a space we needed something that was close to the office preferably on the ground floor so we didn't have to be hauling industrial machines up and down there's and we were fortunate enough to find a storefront just around the corner from my office which has worked very well for us so far the equipment we got as I mentioned mostly donated from Ruth casino we also have a large donor base at refugee one and so we get ongoing donations of sewing notions fabrics and pretty much everything we need has been donated we were able to hire two part-time teachers and we also have a paid studio manager who manages all the projects that are coming in students we started off with just limiting our students to refugees when the number of refugee arrivals dropped so dramatically in 2017 we were having a hard time filling our classes so we were able to expand our student base to all immigrants as well we have a great group of volunteers we have to volunteer English teachers who come in and then we have volunteer assistance in the class so here are just some pictures of some of the projects that we have done which would give you an idea of the variety of skills that the ladies have been able to acquire during our classes we created a refugee one tote bag which was our signature product the ladies also worked on creating a quilt which was raffled off at our annual gala they made some dog ruffles for a dog collar so after dogs get a nice bath they could put on a pretty ruffle we were commissioned to make a few t-shirt quilts as well as some bomber jackets which were a little more complicated our ladies also made some clothing for students for clients we made some eating cloth for a Zen Center they made some dresses for an organization called little girls dresses for Africa and probably our biggest moneymaker for our ladies are these little bags which you see on the right we've literally made thousands of those or local entrepreneur we also have volunteers to help who offer additional workshops for our students so we've had quilting and bag making classes and this is all just a way to offer our students a variety of skills fortunately in Chicago we have a lot of employment opportunities we have clients working full-time at Dearborn denim which makes blue jeans we also have one of our most recent students who is now working at Nordstrom's as doing as a tailor doing alterations and he's only twenty dollars an hour which is great we have people working in fabric stores dry cleaners but by far the biggest the largest number of our students want to work from home and so they are doing project for local entrepreneurs who have the vision and the dream and the ideas of the products but just don't have the skills to actually make it so they come to us and we are able to make it for them some of the challenges of course is funding for SLRs grant with only a one-year nonrenewable fund grant so we do have a development team who are working on finding additional funding for us attendance as I mentioned the beginning we had trouble filling our classes with only refugees but opening that up to immigrants as well has helped us to be able to fill our classes base limitations is just the space that we have has now got too small for us we have a number of projects going and we would really like a space where we can have classes and then a production area as well we've also have you know a lot of people offering us asking us for full-time students and we have found that most of our students really don't want a full-time job it would much rather just work at home the successes there are so many we have wonderful teachers and volunteers we have more donations than we can ever use the students just really enjoy the classes they create a bond with each other even though sometimes they can speak to each other but through being able to show each other how to do things in the class they create a bond that is has really reduced social isolation for a lot of our women employment opportunities are we have sometimes more jobs than we have students willing to sew and the the joy of giving the ladies their first check was incredible for most of them they had never earned any money of their own before so it was really a great moment to be able to give them those those first checks and some of them have really earned quite a lot of money so this is just a picture of one of our recent graduating classes showing our teachers volunteers and students and it's a great program and we hope that we can keep it going thank you all right thanks so much Ellen I was really interesting to to hear about the development of the vocational sewing program there at refugee one I've gotten a few questions so far but I want to encourage you all to to put in more questions because we have a generous amount of time available still for your questions I also just wanted to quickly review the things that we were hoping to cover today we wanted to give you a little bit of a framework of gender equality and gender equity kind of all moving towards what we call gender sensitive employment surface services we wanted to talk about some best practices and creative approaches for job readiness and career success for female clients and finally we wanted to highlight an alternative career pathway so I just bring those up now to just say to just say that you know if if you feel like we haven't adequately explained any of this we would love to have you type your questions and we'd love to discuss those things further so just to remind you who we are here's our pictures and names so if you have a question for a specific person just type in their name along with the question I wanted to get started with with one question that I think is pretty important it's kind of a big picture question but Anisha and Helen if you guys would would on mute yourselves I wanted to ask you in terms of your experience over the past couple of years of trying to to not just make broad employment services work for women but to do some really customized programming for women what would you say have been the keys to success or the things if you had to give somebody two or three things you know what would you say make sure you do these things anybody want to take that one I'll go first unless Helen you want to jump in so I would say for us success was definitely feel um monitor and evaluate our programs it's really important too especially when we were implementing pilot project really either the data that's there and to survey the women you collect anecdotal data to collect success stories and also to see you're working with or we're working with at the beginning of the program it was really interesting because we had not in gender sent our location of the type so when we first started implementing it model that was given to us we were encountering a lot of them so at some point you know we had husbands why are you you know work or be really so we learn from that was to really listen to the community and to really make sure that our interventions were something that wanted and that we we were strategic and how we implemented that so we need in order to be successful we really had to you know bonds of trust with the community we had to work with a lot of the husbands and we had to provide things that we're going to be impactful do women's lives so our classes we're really helpful you know being able to socialize with each other really helpful and providing direct assistance that people could get to those classes this was really important so I would say the key things to success is to continually monitor your program data to do that in their analysis and to respond to what the data is telling you in to what clients are telling you look at Ellen yes I would agree with that I think that most important is making sure that this is really what the woman wants and getting the husband by and as Nisha mentioned as well I I think it's important to recognize that with moms especially if their kids are not taken care of there's no way that they can do a job so I know and resettlement our goal is to get everybody working self-sufficient as soon as possible but I think it's really important just to recognize that it just doesn't work for everybody so saying you know you had you have to take this job because otherwise how you're going to pay your rent if their kids are taken care of and if they're working in an environment that they just do not feel comfortable at all it's not going to work in the long run so you really have to create an environment where the ladies feel very comfortable coming where their husbands feel comfortable with them coming we had a lot of cases where the first or second class the husbands would bring the wife kind of to check it out make sure that it was okay and once they were happy with it then the woman were happy coming along by themselves so I think just really understanding that the needs of the woman is is key great I also wanted to ask you guys what about adjustments that you've had to make along the way oftentimes pilot projects start out you know with a certain design and then as you go you realize we we need to shift some things have there been things that you've needed to shift in order to make the program more effective or more sustainable um for us the only thing we had to shift was just the attendance going from keeping a tony refugees to opening it up the broader group of students other than that the program design we have pretty much kept the same okay oh we did have to shift quite a bit you know example we're implementing in pop sees the when you start beatin my silver spring as well hey Anisha I'm gonna interrupt woman today in Baltimore we have more specialized Anisha I think you're having up you're breaking up quite a bit I don't know if it would be possible for you to maybe call in like yeah do your phone and then call in on the phone line and we might have a better connection with you doing that yeah no no no problem we'll go back to Helen for now Helen there was a question about if you're paying clients for their projects or just connecting them to employers and what did you mean by giving them their first paycheck so for example we have this lady who we make the small bags for so she brings us the project and then we pass it out pass out the project to our students they get paid per piece but it all comes through us so the woman who the woman who project it is will pay us and then we pay our students and it depends on the project but usually they get paid per piece okay great thanks for thanks for that answer another thing that several people are bringing up is the issue of child care and I would imagine that would be on both you know during while they're participating in the in the program as well as perhaps once they have some employment and so how have you have you navigated the child care challenge with your clients so I'd record you when we're fortunate enough to have child care guidance for our students in our English classes and so we've also allowed our students in the sewing classes to bring their children along we don't provide anything for after they get employment but a lot of them are doing these projects at home so they do them while the kids are at school or at night when they are sleeping great that that's a great example of kind of what we're talking about when when we say alternative career pathways is you know rather than trying to force some clients into a certain mold mold of sort of our traditional jobs we have to offer figuring out what's actually going to work for them and of course it's easier said than done but it is happening and apparently 50% of you are working on it so that's awesome what about this is another question related to barriers what about the language barrier did you use interpreters for the classes how have employers or artists that you're working with Helen you know been able to work with with women who may not be proficient in English so what we usually do in say for all our employment when somebody starts a job we usually send an interpreter for the first to do an initial orientation and then after that they're pretty much you know on their own in our classes we have interpreters come in for the first class where we talk about safety rules of the class expectations all that kind of stuff just to make sure that everybody understands the ground rules after that because sewing is such a visual activity we have rarely had very little problem with people understanding when they are shown things we've also been fortunate and always ending up with one person who speaks English who's able to help so it really has not presented itself as a barrier for us our client to climb to work as Dearborne denim they work there full-time and fortunately there's other Arabic because there was speak English so so far things have worked out mm-hmm great let's see we had a question about volunteers and integrating volunteers to your into your programming I'm not sure if we have a Nisha back on the line yet Nisha are you back with us I am have you guys been successful or has it been important to you to integrate volunteers into your program I would say with our program the most important contribution volunteers have been able to give have been that additional support needed so for example you know going with clients to like job interviews providing that additional English support we do have a family Mentor Program that we refer clients to and they get that like extra support of someone coming to their home but for clients that didn't come sort of get out of the house a bit more we were you know we had a volunteer that would give them extra coaching or hold sessions to focus on different interview topics or different things like transportation orientations that were really key I'm providing great and your audio sounds so much better I'm really glad you called in Helen what about you what about volunteers at refugee one is that part of the program model or not yes very much so we have volunteer English teachers who come in once a week to each class and we do also have just assistants in our sewing classes we have ten students per class which can get to be a lot if people are having trouble with their machines some people learn at you know faster rates and others so having an extra set of hands in each class really does help a teacher so yes volunteers are extremely important right so we have a really interesting question here from Nadia it's it's a little bit long but I'm gonna read all of it and then see see what what you all have to share about this she says how do you implement gender specific programming while also helping clients integrate into US cultural norms also how do you avoid perpetuating gender inequity when you develop non-traditional paths for women so a pretty deep question here but but yeah it's a good it's a good question do you all have any thoughts I would respond by that the the jobs that lady people get from our program are very much part of the American culture it's not something that only immigrants or refugees do so it's not at all unusual for an immigrant or for an American to be working as a tailor so it's all part of the integration process by having having them working in even though they they are different to some of the traditional employment areas that we usually place refugees they are still within the American culture yeah yeah I'm you say yes so that was really interesting with regards to integrating them into the job market that's what our program was focused on so rather than I guess it was an alternative approach to integration into the job market rather than a alternative pathway so we the goal is to get them integrated to get them working to either be providing supplemental income for themselves or for their families so within that larger context how do we avoid perpetuating inequity it was really just again making sure we're watching ourselves and analyzing our programs as well as listening to sort of experts or people who implemented programs we did have we did you know really tap into the IRCs gender equity resources our TAS as well as API gbb which is an organization in California they provided like sort of a cultural knowledge or technical assistance about different communities we're working with we again were working with a large special immigrant population so we wanted to make sure that our interventions were culturally appropriate as well as do no harm so just again I also worked with a professor who's kind of an expert on refugees and migration when we were creating the pilot program and used it as sort of my thesis for graduate school so just again like making sure that we're being as informed impossible and then yes looking at both you know client experience in our program as well as the data as to whether things are successful great thank thanks Nisha and just on the note of technical assistance definitely I'd encourage you all if you do need assistance in thinking more about how to promote gender equality or gender equity in your programs definitely submit a technical assistance request – switchboard it doesn't have to be employment related in fact as as Nisha mentioned the IRC has developed a lot of great materials on gender equality and gender equity and you know probably probably you would end up talking to a subject matter expert on those particular topics and so so definitely submit a TA request if you're interested in that I wanted to go to a question from Chris which is another really interesting question he says what tips would the panelists have for men in the workplace to encourage gender transform a transformation to not only support our female colleagues and clients but also helped correct harmful gender ideas among men and that also reminds me of when I was doing research for this webinar and for the info guide that we just published one of the gender the characteristics of gender transformative programs was that oftentimes it engages men in discussions with women and kind of there's a co-ed approach to to tackling these issues and so any tips for men either in the workplace or any ways that you've engaged men in your program in on these issues I definitely have ideas so with regards what we've seen be successful in our program has been working with the husband's I think especially when you're working with a variety of different cultures if you don't want to impose or our goal is not to impose like our values other people but we do have to you know make sure that we're promoting gender equity and I think that gets complicated because each each location each place where people come from have different goals or ideas of what that is and so the ways men can kind of support that is definitely working with men working to educate themselves about gender inequities and I think the biggest thing is to pay attention so a lot of times when you're working with male colleagues sometimes you know they won't notice something you leave maybe you won't notice like hey it's really important that we get the childcare vouchers through that we apply for this childcare because if we don't if we if there's a gap in services then you know the woman won't be able to access English class this is her only opportunity to access employment so paying attention is key as well as working with other men and and making sure that you know it's not so much to convince them or beat them over the head with it because you know when you're coming to a new place I think it's cultural change is a navigation between multiple factors and and we don't want to force anything on anyone but to to make sure we reinforced if you know if someone says you know hey this is something I want that we're providing that service to them and that we're paying attention to women's meat great Thanks thanks Nisha Helen did you have any thoughts um not committed because we ready you know haven't worked with too many men but we've had a few men in the program and we've really tried to I think what they've learned from from being in it the classes is that women can do the same as they can do women can earn the same as they do so I think for the men who have been in the program it's been really good for them to be you know just treated like a woman as well where the job opportunities are the same for both of them but it is like I mentioned before it was important for us for some of our female students to get their husbands kind of approval that they could be in the class great we're gonna wrap up this conversation in just just a few minutes and and we're gonna share some some resources that we've found helpful but I did just want to ask our panelists have there been any resources as you've designed these these programs I know initially you mentioned some some things from the IRC but even you know outside of refugee work specifically a workforce development resources or reports or things like that anything that you would recommend to to our listeners in terms of things to look at in this topic area that have been helpful to you so we based out sizes on some other models of other programs that are around the country and around Chicago but I we never ready came across any resources that we actually used a lot of it was just from our own unbelief for what would work yeah so we we did a lot of research leaders performance that we were creating this program again there was a graduate thesis that you know we got like definitely some great technical assistance from an academic here from American University which is really great but also a debt again I would I just like to shout out that IRC is gender equity resources we have a gender equity toolkit which is really great and really helpful when we were first implementing the program as well as I think our cultural resource and exchange of a core they did provide some resources as well I believe UNHCR had some resources online that were super helpful for us it was really important too because we're working with such different populations is really important to kind of understand what perspectives they were coming from like coming from displacement coming through that process into resettlement what kinds of issues or the earlier are coming with them and what kinds of dynamics are going to be in the communities we're working with that way we could you know make sure that our services were appropriate great thanks for sure nose alright last question so where do you where do both of you hope things go from here like what are you are you considering other pathways are there is our new programming or new opportunities that you see in terms of creating innovative programming for women where do you hope to go on the next year or two for our side the program the program funding was transitioned out however we were able to sort of leverage all of the research that we did all the work that we did in to finding new funding for programming it is much smaller funding but we look forward to using a lot of the knowledge that we gained from this program to expand our services to women what was really important I believe so from starting the program to finish was a lot of times you know as a staff or service provider you don't believe that you can implement program program you don't believe that you know it'll actually work and it was really great to see that it actually worked and so with that data with with those with that knowledge and that institutional knowledge that we built we're really excited to incorporate that into other program applications or other funding application and for a refugee phenom well first of all we're hoping we're going to find more funding so we can keep the program alive and also we just hope to find more opportunities for our our students more opportunities probably that they can do at home because that is definitely the preferred job for them and we will be moving our offices and within the next year and so we will have to find a new sewing space as well so that's going to be our next challenge all right well thank you both for your presentations as well as sharing your insight with us during the Q&A time and we're going to share some of the resources that that we've put together as we've prepared this webinar as well as info that we mentioned we do want to encourage well again to check out our new information guide as supporting the career pathways of female clients a lot of it will be similar to to this webinar but it goes into some more details shares some more specific practical ideas and then highlights some of these same resources and maybe a couple different ones as well so check that out also many of you I'm sure are familiar with core they're the cultural orientation resource exchange and they actually have an employment for refugee women fact sheet and lesson plan and I just put the general the kind of main website here when I've sent out the follow-up email I will actually include the exact link but could not fit on the slide so and then we have a couple other ones the US Department of Labor women's Bureau and they just provide a lot of resources especially on legal rights of women and discrimination and and things like that so that may be helpful and finally not so much a resource or maybe very much so a resource but an actual organization Dress for Success which again probably many of you are familiar with outside of the refugee space specifically but certainly a collaborative relationship that you might want to consider I know they they provide professional outfits for women for interviews they do job readiness they you know basically just focus on helping women overcome barriers to employment and so definitely something good to look at in your community they have affiliates all over the country and I wanted to submit you all to sorry I wanted to encourage you all to submit a TA request technical assistance not everybody is familiar with the term technical assistance basically all that means is if there's an area of your work you're finding challenging we might have a resource or a subject matter expert or we might even be able to design something customized for you and so let us know what it is that you need and we'll let you know how we can help of course we also want to hear not just about your challenges but also about your successes because we know that there's a lot of them and so in addition to letting us know what you need help with we would really love to to know what you're doing that's working so that we can amplify that out to folks around the country and finally before we sign off here we want to stay connected with you here are the various ways that we can that you can connect with us our email address Twitter and our website and we thank you for for joining us today I apologize for some of the technical hiccups in the middle there but we recovered from that and I trust that this was valuable content for you and that the discussion that we had in Q&A time was also interesting and helpful please feel free to follow up with us with more questions we do look at all the questions that were submitted after the fact and we use that to in some cases respond individually in other cases we might look at several questions that maybe are on a certain theme and and write a blog post or something down the road but also feel free to email us with more questions and we'll be happy to continue the conversation so with that we'll sign off thanks so much for attending and keep up the good work you

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