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Surprise! Men are dominating the top positions in fashion

FFS

Though fashion may be an industry most associated with women, a new report shows they are not reaching the top executive positions. 

The Glass Runway was compiled by the CFDA and Glamour with the intention of understanding and resolving the gender equality gap in fashion, and explores how gender impacts on the careers of both men and women.

While fashion is consumed and financed, for the most part, by women – who spend on average three times more on clothes than men, according to global market research company NPD – sadly, the industry does not reflect this, with many missing out on high-ranking executive roles to men. And where a huge number of women are enrolling on courses in fashion education (85% of students enrolled at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology are female, for example), many are obtaining only entry-level jobs even a number of years into their careers.

As outlined in the report, women were found to lack confidence in progressing to a higher level in fashion owing to a number of factors. Of the 535 professionals interviewed, 100% off women said they struggled to ask for a promotion, while only 27% claimed to have received advice on their careers from employers or managers. Many women also gave up the idea of achieving a higher position after they had children, with 30% believing that motherhood would slow them down in their career and see them deemed ineligible for promotion into top roles.

“Though we have seen a number of breakthroughs in the last few years, with the likes of Maria Grazia Chiuri appointed the first female creative director of Dior, and Clare Waight Keller the first woman to take the reins at Givenchy, just 14% of brands are run by a female executive”

The report goes on to look at the ways these issues can be overcome, with clear programmes and policies outlining ways to empower and support women in their careers. It also gives examples of companies already striving to ensure women are given equal opportunities. Gap, which has an executive board made up of 70% women, has implemented equal pay and complementation plans that range from mentorship, HR support, and networking schemes for women, but there are many more falling behind. Notably, Condé Nast UK (whose titles include Vogue, GQ, and Glamour) employ three times as many women than men, but women earn just two-thirds of their male colleagues' salaries on average. 

And though we have seen a number of breakthroughs in the last few years, with the likes of Maria Grazia Chiuri appointed the first female creative director of Dior, and Clare Waight Keller the first woman to take the reins at Givenchy, just 14% of brands are run by a female executive – meaning there is much more to be done.

“Fashion is a creative industry, and I think creative people have a strong sense of humanity,” said Steven Kolb, CEO of the CFDA. “We need to look at how to translate that humanity to more tangible opportunities for women in their careers and in their lives so that they can continue to flourish and grow.”