Have Women Broken the Glass Ceiling in Fashion?
11:30 am, March 15th | by Meredith Lepore
Though we think of fashion as a woman-dominated industry, I have been surprised to find out that male designers often overshadow their female counterparts with award nominations as well as salary and power. But according to Lisa Armstrong of The Guardian, “For an industry so often accused of exploiting women, there’s a surprising absence of glass ceilings.”
According to her designer David Gandy, “Women in my industry earn four times more than I do… they’re treated with much higher acclaim.” She wrote:
“In mitigation, I would flag up the number of women who get to the top in fashion. Influential designers? Try Phoebe Philo, Stella McCartney, Rei Kawakubo, Donna Karan, Diane von Furstenberg, Sarah Burton. Factory magnates? Meet Alberta Ferretti, the Fendi sisters and the Missoni matriarchs. CEOs, vice presidents and the like? There’s Natalie Massenet, Alison Loehnis, Belinda Earl… And as for female entrepreneurs or influential glossy magazine editors, they’re too numerous to mention.”
Well, this is great to hear. Though it may only be on the actual design and editorial sides. According to a recent report from Women’s Wear Daily, out of the 67 executives at the top retail companies, only six were women. And the top female earned around $40 million less than the top male. Though we think the fashion industry is dominated by women, reports like this confirm it is the opposite. According to a 2009 British report, fashion designers and equalities campaigners complained that, while women account for 52% of the workforce in the fashion and textiles sector, they occupy just 37% of the top jobs, and are paid 15% less than their male colleagues. “Given that fashion, unlike film and art, is run by women, you’d think it’d be the one creative industry that champions women, but for some reason, most of the prominent artists are men,” said Sophie Buhai, who launched Vena Cava with Lisa Mayock in 2004.