In my job I meet some of the most amazing people in the jewellery industry and I get to sit down with them and hear their stories.
Both men and women have wowed me with where they’ve come from and where they are today, and I truly believe we have some of the greatest minds in business working in the trade.
Last night I was very kindly asked by the Women’s Jewellery Network to sit on the panel to discuss opportunities and challenges for women working the UK jewellery trade, and once again I was struck by the stories I heard.
Before the evening even began, I was inspired by the group I was about to be on the panel with sharing their personal stories, and letting each other know that they are not alone.
I was then further encouraged to hear more in detail from Stella Layton and Lucy Reece-Raybould when they delivered their keynote speeches on the night.
There are many women in the jewellery industry, and indeed history, who have fought to make business a better place for women.
What some of them have been through many of my generation will (hopefully) never experience, and it’s encouraging to see these women still speaking out today to ensure the jewellery industry is a better place to be for the next generation of women.
Many have told me that the jewellery industry has come along way and I believe that to be true too.
It can still feel like a male dominated trade in some areas, especially at the top level, but many improvements have been made to not just lift women up to senior roles but to strike a balance of gender, age, and cultural equality. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a long way to go and many issues still to be resolved – such as supporting women with families and seeing more female senior executives in businesses – but steps are being made to progress and hopefully the launch of the Women’s Jewellery Network will help accelerate that.
The last question on the panel last night was, ‘What would you say to a woman looking to have a career in the jewellery industry?’
Well I would say, the industry is not perfect (is any industry?) but it’s one that strives to sparkle.
The mere fact that a group of men and women from senior executive positions to emerging designers gathered together last night to hear us ladies out and engage in a discussion is a sign that this trade is a safe place to build a career.
Group’s such as the WJN will support you, and you will have a lot of fun along the way because as Lucy said last night, we are a trade where our services end with a smile. The smile of someone receiving a piece of jewellery handmade by someone in the trade and sold with care by a retail member of staff.
So don’t be put off by the conversations around gender equality you might hear, because improvements are being made little by little, and people who can actually make a difference are listening and taking action to try and ensure no glass ceiling is put on anyone in the jewellery trade.
Disclaimer: This is the editor’s personal view, not the WJN’s which acts as a voice for everyone to have their say.