8 Mar 2022
International Women’s day, 8th March is a chance to celebrate the growing contribution made by women in philanthropy. When we think of philanthropists, we immediately think of high profile people like Melinda Gates, or MacKenzie Scott, but let’s not forget all those whose philanthropy takes place very much under the radar.
Historically, women may not have had the financial independence or the means to give to the causes they care about but today we’re seeing many women giving more and independently supporting a wide range of causes, taking leadership roles in philanthropy. Take for example the Acorn Giving Circle, a giving circle at the Foundation where women give regularly and decide together where funds are most needed in their communities Women helping women, doing some fantastic work.
Philanthropy comes in many forms – Time, Talent and Treasure. So do the projects powered by giving. One, in particular, is WOMEN’STEC in North Belfast.
Girls and young women in Northern Ireland are traditionally encouraged to enter employment in sectors (e.g. hospitality, childcare, hair and beauty) where wages are comparatively lower than ‘male sectors’ (e.g. construction, engineering), meaning lower incomes and a higher risk of falling into poverty.
But what if this was different? WOMEN’STEC in North Belfast are challenging this stereotype with their popular ‘Not Just For Boys’ programme.
The project targets young marginalised girls who are at risk of falling into lower-income jobs or unemployment and encourages them to consider non-traditional career options by offering taster sessions and training courses in careers such as plumbing, joinery, electrician.
Nadine, 16 years old has just completed an OCN Level 1 accredited Carpentry course at WOMEN’STEC. “I was so keen to attend I travelled all the way up to North Belfast every week from Portavogie. I loved the course and the #notjustforboys programme at WOMEN’STEC, which is a really brilliant stepping stone for young women like me who are interested in trades skills but want to get some experience before committing to a full-time course.”
“My classmates were girls my own age and the tutor was a woman who had so much experience, she was really inspiring.”
This programme has opened up doors for me that I wouldn’t have even thought about before. Although I completed my English and Maths GCSEs at school, I left after my 5th year as it isn’t the way I like to learn. I find it much easier to learn by doing things and experiencing them hands-on! I’m really excited to be starting a Level 2 Carpentry and Joinery at SERC, with an apprenticeship with Marlfield Joinery and Construction LTD in Portaferry. I’m looking forward to being onsite 2 or 3 days a week, and I know that I’ll pick up so much from being out on real jobs and construction sites.”