Sonya Lennon Launches Dress for Success Dublin Equal Pay Day Campaign

Monday, 7th November 2016

– From today, women in Ireland are effectively working for free –

Dress for Success Dublin is marking Equal Pay Day today (07.11.16) and has announced details of a month-long campaign to build awareness of the gender pay gap and support more women back into work.

Launching the campaign at Medley Café Bistro in Dublin today, Sonya Lennon – designer, tech entrepreneur and founder of Dress for Success Dublin – said: “We’re marking Equal Pay Day on this date, 7th November, because the current gender pay gap means women in Ireland effectively stop earning – relative to men – on this date.

“We are paid, on average, 14.4 per cent less than men for doing the same work.  Another way to look at this – if you shave 14 per cent off the end of the calendar – is that women work for free for about the last seven weeks of each year.  Overall, women can expect to earn significantly less than men over their entire careers.”

Ms. Lennon said the gender pay gap is due to several complex factors, including the historical fact that women entered the workforce later than men and have been struggling to catch up ever since.

“We need to recognise that, in many instances, a man and woman with the same career path and position often get paid different salaries,” she said.  “Women are less assertive about asking for salary increases and can be more self-critical in terms of their abilities, leading to a perception that they are inferior when the reality is that they work at least as hard and are at least as effective.

“Women are also more likely to take career breaks or request part-time or flexible working arrangements for family reasons.  This means that, in many workplaces, they are less likely to be promoted.

“Gender inequality persists despite international research proving the business case for more women in corporate leadership positions.  A survey* published last year showed companies with at least 30 per cent female leaders can add up to six percentage points to their net margins and organisations with women in senior roles are more innovative.

“The campaign we’re launching today is aimed at raising awareness of the gender pay gap and, crucially, raising funds to support more women back into work.  Female participation in the Irish labour market remains well below EU levels, and women in the workforce are still not treated on a par with men.”

Call for Donations

Dress for Success Dublin is calling for donations of €50 to support a woman to enter or re-enter the workforce.

“The women we work with come from all walks of life and range from early school-leavers to women struggling to find work again after a career break for family reasons,” said Sonya Lennon.  “Their common characteristic is that they’ve faced barriers in entering or re-entering the workforce.  By donating €50 as part of our Equal Pay Day campaign, you can help a woman overcome these barriers and take her first steps towards economic independence.

“It costs us €50 to provide one woman with the clothing and career development tools she needs in advance of a job interview, and to support her both before and after the interview.  So what we’re saying this month is: why not group together with four friends, pledging only a tenner each, to donate €50 to help a woman through our service?  Individual donations are welcome too, and anyone can donate through our website,”

Throughout November, Dress for Success Dublin is encouraging people to share their reasons for donating and their own thoughts on gender equality, by posting on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #EqualPayDfSD.

Campaign Events

The organisation is also holding two high-profile events as part of its Equal Pay Day campaign:

  1. A briefing for TDs and Senators on the need for enhanced policy and legislative measures to ensure men and women receive equal pay for equal work.  This will take place at Leinster House on Wednesday, 16th November, and will be hosted by Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee; and
  1. A disco brunch at Medley Café Bistro on Sunday, 20th November.  Special guest DJ for the brunch is Nialler9, and tickets are on sale from Eventbrite now, priced at €35.

“We believe the best way to tackle gender inequality is to help women achieve economic independence,” said Sonya Lennon.  “Any support people give us during this campaign will go towards achieving that goal.”

Full details of the campaign, including how to donate and how to purchase tickets for the disco brunch, are available at



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