Single mothers have a uniquely hard time integrating into the job market in jobs that fit their abilities and talents, due to having sole responsibility over caring for the house and children.
The coronavirus crisis has been especially challenging for them, and many are searching for the way back into the right job. In order to empower these women, and give them useful professional tools, the itworks non-profit organization, is running in collaboration with the Yedidut Toronto Foundation, a special program designed to give professional courses, made available to single mothers for a token cost. These courses include occupational consultation, mentoring, and active assistance up to the point of obtaining a job. What do single mothers who have participated in the program have to say about it?
There are about 130 thousand single-parent families living in Israel, the overwhelming majority of which are headed by women. The heavy responsibility carried by these women makes it very difficult for them to find a suitable workplace, one that would fit the needs of their unique lifestyle. Furthermore, many of these women lack the relevant training for today’s job market. Consequently, many single mothers deal with significant financial difficulties, without finding a path into a well-paying job suited to their abilities.
Unsurprisingly, the coronavirus pandemic hit single mothers especially hard. Many of them are their families’ sole providers, and yet they have been unable to return from unpaid leave to the workforce. In the first wave of shutdowns alone, 20 thousand single mothers were placed on unpaid leave by their employers.
In order to help these women create opportunities for professional development and promotion in the job market, the itworks organization and the Yedidut Toronto Foundation are running a specially designed professional program, aimed at assisting women in finding their way back into the job market. Included in this program are digital marketing courses, HR recruitment courses, introductions to the hi-tech world and more. These courses were created in view of market requirements, and built with the help of leading corporate employers.
Training sessions are run in collaboration with employers, and they are held in lucrative disciplines, with a view towards obtaining promotions in role and salary. In addition to the professional training, the courses also include mentoring by leading market figures, and the support of itworks professional staff who works with participants on job searching skills, building connections, recruitment processes, and adjustment to a new workplace.
We talked with Maya Ashkenazi, program head at itworks, and with Talia Gidoni and Roni Enoshi, women who participated in the courses, in order to hear about what they learned, the challenges in finding suitable employment, and the path towards improving work prospects and achieving much needed financial independence.
There is no doubt that the road to suitable employment for single mothers in Israel is long and challenging. Ashkenazi says that beyond the challenges of time availability, and the financial burden, these women have to deal with a lack of self-confidence and faith in themselves.
Gidoni tells us of her immigration to Israel, her job search, her path into various positions in the factory in which she worked, and the severe effects coronavirus had on her. After taking part in itworks course, Gidoni is now working as a spokeswoman for a member of the Knesset, and enjoying the challenge each day brings.
Enoshi was put on unpaid leave following the coronavirus outbreak. She says that in the course she took, she learned how to enter the hi-tech world, how to create useful connections on social media, and how to plan and manage her career. Today Enoshi works as a personal assistant to a CEO in a hi-tech company.
The job market is moving towards a hybrid work model
Ashkenazi emphasizes that the pandemic is also an opportunity for single mothers, due to the shift towards a hybrid work model. Employers can now measure output instead of hours spent in the office, allowing women much more flexibility in finding suitable employment.
Gidoni and Enoshi conclude by calling all single mothers to go out and study, resist giving in to despair, and search for a place where they can excel and do their part.
Head of Corporate Affairs and Engagement at L'Oreal Israel, Daniela Prusky Sion, says: We at L'Oreal Israel are proud of the support the Global L'Oreal Fund for Women is giving to this important work of the itworks organization. Women have been affected and are continuing to be affected disproportionately by the financial and social repercussions of the global coronavirus pandemic. This crisis might lead to an additional 47 million women around the world ending up in jeopardy. The L'Oreal Group fund was created in response to the coronavirus economic crisis and was designed to help these women globally.
“We are proud of the collaboration and opportunity to support this important work of itworks, which is helping women in different states of risk, to return to the workforce, and thereby helping their financial, personal, professional, and mental empowerment, and are happy to expand the collaboration into further areas.
The article is in partnership with "itworks" - a non-profit organization that works to narrow employment gaps and promote diversity in Israel's booming high-tech industry
You can e-mail the NGO here: firstname.lastname@example.org