Some women believe that dressing for an interview or for work every day in a professional environment involves skirts and high heels but one Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne graduate student is proposing a program to help change that stigma.
Abigail Schnelker, a graduate assistant in the IPFW Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, is proposing a program that will help prepare women to present themselves in a manner consistent with a professional setting.
“TV gives a very convoluted idea of what women are expected to wear to work and how they are expected to conduct themselves. Sex sells on TV but it comes off as unprofessional in the work place,” Schnelker said.
The program would incorporate human resource professionals to help give female students an idea of how to dress in the business world after obtaining their degree from IPFW.
Schnelker said she also plans to reach out to local hairdressers and cosmetics experts to attend the event. These representatives would then have a chance to give attendees tips and pointers on how to do their makeup and hair in a professional manner.
Chelsea Beyers, an IPFW graduate, is a human resource specialist and said she thinks this type of program is a great idea for women looking to work in a business-type environment.
“Appearance can make or break an interview for someone, knowing what to do and what not to do is very important and this type workshop could help do that for these women,” Beyers said.
Beyers also said she agreed that stereotypes set forth in the media can come off as unprofessional.
“High heels are not needed in an interview when dress pants along with a nice blouse or blazer will do the job,” she said.
Sloane Odle is a senior at IPFW and says this type of program would be something that could potentially be very helpful.
“I have never really had a true interview in a business-like environment so I am really not sure what interviewing or working in a business environment every day is like,” Odle said.
On top of how to appear professional, Schnelker said she also plans to reach out to local businesses that sell second hand professional clothing.
“Most college students do not have very deep pockets, if the university could work with some of these businesses to get discounted rates for students it could be a big help for a lot of women,” Schnelker said.
The program proposal will be submitted to Ken Christmon, the associate vice chancellor of diversity and multicultural affairs, by the end of the current semester. If the program is approved Schnelker said she plans to hold the event in March in conjunction with Women’s History Month before seniors graduate in May.