Jewelry industry

Advancing a fair vision for the jewelry industry

Women are at the origin of 90% of the demand for products in the jewelry industry and are present throughout the value chain. However, the roles and opportunities of women in the jewelry supply chain are conditioned by gender inequalities and discrimination.

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed and, in some cases, reversed progress towards gender equality in all sectors. Many of the hardest hit industries, including retail, are dominated by women. Retailing of jewelry in particular is one of the hardest hit categories of consumer goods, with sales drops to four-fifths in some areas in the early stages of the pandemic, and the impacts rippled across the industry and its supply chain, exacerbating many structural inequalities and challenges women already face.

In 2020, UN Women launched an unprecedented campaign: “Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future, ”Marking the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and bring together several generations of women’s rights activists. This culminated in July in Paris, where businesses, governments and civil society embarked on an ambitious global acceleration plan achieve gender equality by 2030. This momentum and “she-cessionThe global pandemic has heightened the urgency for companies to advance gender equality. Forty companies have made individual and collaborative commitments to promote gender equality across their value chains.

Businesses can play a critical role in changing attitudes, implementing responsible practices throughout the supply chain, and creating inclusive and safe work environments for all.

As part of Generation Equality, BSR, in partnership with the RJC, engaged with a wide range of industry players around the world through workshops, regional roundtables and surveys. The resulting report, “Gender Equality Report: Now is the time to accelerate SDG 5, achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls“, highlights the current state of corporate efforts to advance gender equality in the jewelry industry. The report presents four main ideas:

1. Enabling small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to progress towards gender equality is a key opportunity for the whole industry

Gender equality efforts begin with high-level leadership commitments and transformational business policies that can set the tone for mainstreaming gender equality into value chains and business teams. . However, one of the biggest obstacles to achieving these commitments and policies in the industry is the size of the organization. SMEs often lack the capacity, expertise or internal resources to develop formal policies, and gender equality is not as clearly a priority as in large organizations which face higher expectations for action and development. ” engage in external initiatives.

Up to 35 percent of RJC members are SMEs that have not developed external commitments or vision statements, and 21 percent of RJC members reported having limited formal policies. However, many SMEs have made internal commitments, adopted informal policies or promote inclusiveness through other means, such as corporate charters.

2. Social norms on gender and structural factors in companies have an impact on access to talent

In the jewelry industry, accessing and hiring diverse talent, especially women, is a challenge. This problem is even more acute in some regions, in the mining industry and for roles in logistics or STEM-based functions. However, some companies have started to tackle these barriers to gender diversity. So while many companies still focus on “hiring the best person for the job,” which can hamper efforts to increase gender diversity, the survey found that 24% of member companies RJC are reviewing their positions and requirements to eliminate potential bias.

In addition, there are many other opportunities to implement hiring, development and retention plans. Practices, such as unconscious bias trainings for hiring teams, setting hiring and promotion goals, and creating targeted development and learning opportunities for under-represented groups, are still limited among members, which means that there is a lot of room for improvement.

3. Globally, the conversation about diversity in the industry is centered on gender equality

However, in some regions the approach is shifting towards broader dimensions of diversity and inclusion, such as the focus on racial justice and ethnic diversity in North America and disability and age in Europe. Because the dimensions of identity can create layers of discrimination for an individual, not all women have experienced the same level of progress towards gender equality in recent years. Businesses should consider taking an intersectional approach to gender equality and understanding how the different dimensions of identity intersect.

However, a common challenge for many companies in the sector is where and how to start, as these issues are very culturally sensitive and the regional context is essential for understanding the challenges and opportunities.

4. Organizations have the opportunity to amplify their impact and drive change in the industry by examining their entire value chain

Companies can foster greater diversity in their value chains by taking a range of actions, including actively sourcing from entities led and / or owned by women or other under-represented groups, focusing on the well-being of workers throughout their supply chains and using their marketing practices to challenge stereotypes. However, value chain initiatives in the industry are still largely limited. Only 2% of the companies surveyed committed to sourcing from women-owned or minority-owned companies. Lack of market access for small businesses or women-owned businesses continues to be a significant barrier to value chain diversity.

Where from here?

Our dialogues and other commitments make it clear that industry-wide collaboration will be essential to address the systemic challenges of achieving gender equality. BSR and RJC are committed to supporting and stimulating this industry-wide collaboration and deepening this dialogue with industry stakeholders to promote progress within individual organizations as well as the industry. at large.

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