WJN’s celebration of women in jewellery sparks ‘crucial discussions’

The Women’s Jewellery Network (WJN), the UK-wide organisation designed to connect, grow and inspire women working in the jewellery trade, has highlighted a number of ‘crucial discussions’ that it hosted in support of International Women’s Day.

International Women’s Day, which is on March 8 every year, commemorates the movement for women’s rights.

This year, the jewellery industry marked the day with various events for members of the trade and press.

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The WJN hosted two events, tying in with its #NoGlassCeiling campaign, in London and Birmingham.

During the initiative, crucial discussions in the UK trade centred on the opportunities for growth and development of women working in the UK industry.

Held at London’s Goldsmiths’ Centre and Birmingham’s AnchorCert Academy, the WJN brought together figures from across the UK jewellery industry to discuss how the trade can better support and develop the careers and ambitions of women in jewellery, both now and in the future.

Victoria McKay, founder of the WJN, said: “Feedback from our attendees has been hugely positive – the discussions were challenging yet motivating, revealing the issues and concerns of women working in our industry, from internal competition, to loneliness and archaic company attitudes towards maternity and paternity leave.

“With many audience members staying behind to share their viewpoints and stories with guests and panellists, it was clear these two events achieved their aim – connecting women in the UK industry and inspiring open and honest discussions.”

In London, conversations focused on mentoring, trade and employer support, and the evolving desires and expectations of women jewellery consumers.

Beanie Major, founder of jewellery platform In Detail, was moderator of a panel that included award-winning British designer Alex Monroe, Emma Burgin, COO of the Alex Monroe brand, accessories designer and former WGSN accessories director Jacqui Ma, and Kate Flitcroft, head of jewellery sales at auction house Lyon & Turnbull.

In Birmingham, audience members attended a panel discussion chaired by Professor Marylyn Carrigan, and featuring Professional Jeweller editor Stacey Hailes, he UK’s first female Assay Master and former Cookson Precious Metals chief executive officer, Stella Layton MBA, CMJ executive director of business development and marketing Lucy Reece-Raybould, National Association of Jewellers’ Kickstarter of the Year 2017 award winner Farrah Al-Dujaili, and industry consultant Michael Donaldson.

The evening’s topics covered mentoring in the UK industry, making traditional trade networks more accessible to women, and commitments to evolve company culture and leadership.

Nyasha Pitt, WJN midlands ambassador, commented: “I’m grateful to everyone who came to celebrate International Women’s Day with us at AnchorCert Academy, debating issues faced by women in the jewellery industry, at our first WJN event in the Midlands.”

The WJN has announced it will enter into a series of discussions with trade bodies with a view to working together to achieve positive outcomes for women in industry, with further localised events and meet-ups planned for WJN members in the second quarter of 2018.

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