Key figures and organisations from the UK jewellery industry came together to celebrate International Women’s Day with two special events yesterday (Thursday 8 March).

The Women’s Jewellery Network (WJN) organised two networking and discussion events in London and Birmingham to tie in with their #NoGlassCeiling campaign, with leading figures from the industry attending the London panel including Beanie Major, Alex Monroe, Emma Burgin, Jacqui Ma and Kate Flitcroft. The panel discussion in Birmingham featured the UK’s first female Assay Master and former Cookson Precious Metals CEO, Stella Layton, Professional Jeweller Editor Stacey Hailes, Jewellery Industry consultant, Michael Donaldson, National Association of Jewellers’ Kickstarter of the Year 2017 award winner, Farrah Al-Dujaili as well as our own executive director of business development and marketing, Lucy Reece-Raybould. The panel discussed what changes need to be made and what progress can WJN and the industry make to improve equality within the sector.

CMJ’s very own executive director of business development and marketing who has herself been in the jewellery industry for over 30 years added her voice to the panel in Birmingham last night. Lucy Reece-Raybould is a passionate supporter of ethical, equality, environmentally and socially conscious initiatives within the industry and the empowerment of women in the jewellery industry is no different. Even going so far as to support a sewing project in Macdesa for the women in the community.

Commenting on last night’s WJN event, she said: “It was a great pleasure to take part in the lively debate at the first WJN event in Birmingham on International Women’s Day. The panel discussion was both engaging and refreshing around the opportunities and challenges women face working in the UK jewellery trade. I have seen a lot of changes in the industry throughout my career and the topic of whether a “glass ceiling” still exists is compelling.”

Professional Jeweller Editor Stacey Hailes commented: “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, but many improvements have been made to not just lift women up to senior roles but to strike a balance of gender, age, race and cultural equality.”

Jewellery PR agency Facets PR also hosted a day event in London showcasing female entrepreneurs in the jewellery industry which included Sif Jakobs, Eden Diodati, Satta Matturi and Jemima Hargreaves.

Lucy Reece-Raybould at the WJN panel in Birmingham (courtesy of AnchorCert Academy)
Lucy Reece-Raybould at the WJN panel in Birmingham (courtesy of AnchorCert Academy)

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