The women who pack The Big Issue for distribution to subscribers have an extra reason to celebrate this International Women’s Day (8 March).
They have now dispatched more than 400,000 magazines since the Women’s Subscription Enterprise (WSE) launched in 2010.
The initiative is designed to offer a safe and viable work opportunity for homeless and disadvantaged women, as an alternative to selling The Big Issue on the street.
With the support of corporate and individual subscribers, these women have collectively worked more than 900 shifts since 2010.
This employment has empowered many of the women to improve their lives, by providing a stable income and the chance to gain new skills. For some women, it has been a pathway to permanent employment.
Melbourne WSE worker Fiona said the enterprise had helped her learn real-world skills.
“This employment has enabled me to overcome many mental health issues, empowering me to feel fulfilled and have a sense of accomplishment each day,” she said.
The WSE currently operates in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. The Big Issue is working toward establishing a distribution centre in Perth.
For every 100 subscriptions sold, we can employ one woman through the enterprise.
With International Women’s Day on 8 March, now is a great time to subscribe to The Big Issue and help women get back on their feet.
Please find more information on the program here.