Happy International Women’s Day!
We’re excited to be celebrating this momentous day with the incredible women that we work with day-in and day-out, as well as with you, the fantastic customers who empower women every time you purchase clothes made by our team.
As founders of Visible who are both male, we have spent a lot of time over the last few years trying to thinking about how we can use our position of leadership to have positive, sustainable impact.
At the heart of what we do is the core value that everyone needs to be treated fairly; our customers with affordable quality products, but more significantly, our employees. In order for us to be fair, we HAVE to be aware of gender inequalities and pro-active in finding ways to address it.
Here at Visible, we don’t believe in giving a hand-out but in giving hands-up. We have seen first hand that when women are given the same opportunities as men, not only do they improve their lives but they improve the lives of those around them.
It's obvious that women don’t need men to tell them how to do things - more often than not the need is simply for freedom and opportunity. Tragically opportunities are often held back from women, hindering not only their progress but also the progress of the wider communities.
At the beginning of this year, we have therefore focused on 4 ways that we want to be held accountable.
1 - 50% of the Visible Fair Trade Committee will be women
We established our fair trade committee in July 2016 and have consciously tried to ensure that women make up half of the committee. Additionally, we try to encourage all representatives to voice their opinions and help to think through how the DNA of fairness can be implemented across Visible.
2 - Any advisory board or leadership team will comprise of at least 50% women
We are excited to have just made our first new leadership hire and will be profile our new Operations Manager Suganda next week. We are hopefully that by having more women in leadership positions at the factory will have an impact across the whole organisation.
3 - In 2017 we will form at least 3 new partnerships with organisations who’s mission is women’s empowerment
We have been proactive in developing relationships with more organisations whose focus is on working with marginalised women. Over the last 9 months, we have been working with a group that works with women trapped in extreme poverty in the slums. Additionally, we’ve just reached agreements with two other organisations that will be announcing next month.
4 - Our Human Resources Policy Manual shall be updated with an emphasis on gender empowerment.
One of the first things that we did when we acquired the tailoring centre, was to ensure there wasn’t any gender pay gap for jobs that require similar experience and skill sets. Additionally, we have reviewed the HR manual and included new sections that go beyond legal requirements that are intentionally focused on providing more opportunities for women e.g. longer maternity leave, childcare options etc.
The fact is, that when you invest in women, they change the world. Statistically, women use more of their earnings back into their families, literacy and their children’s education.
Thank you for empowering us to empower our team. Here’s to Celebrating International Womens Day.