Pictured (L-R) are Kirsty Strain, Louise Carleton, Sheree Gribbon, and Irene Wilson.
International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.
IWD is not country, group or organisation specific and invites everyone to help forge a gender equal world, to celebrate women’s achievements, to raise awareness against bias and to take saction for equality. These are the pillars upon which IWD rests and pillars which we at Camden endeavour to support, sustain and encourage across the length and breadth of our business.
With IWD having occurred for well over a century, the issues and barriers that women face have long been recognised…so why can it sometimes seem that the world is not seeing real progress?
IWD’s theme this year is #EachforEqual which stipulates that equality is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue. With Camden’s completely open approach to gender equality in all roles, this is something we are proud to support, and we want to shine a light on some of the incredible women who make up life at Camden.
From business customer relations and human resources to glass cutting and machinery maintenance – women are visible in every aspect of Camden life and are never underestimated.
Whilst average figures vary, our 16.7% female workforce is above the UK average in the manufacturing industry and is something which we have seen grow year on year. Interestingly, many of our women work in production and out on the factory floor, which is traditionally a male-dominated environment.
Contrary to the norm, this is not something that we have set out to achieve or targets we have sought to meet. This has happened naturally and organically. We pride ourselves in hiring the best person for the job based on skill, dedication and work ethic and we have never seen gender as any sort of deciding factor in this.
Irene Wilson holds the position of Operations Manager at Camden Group which sees her oversee all production within Camden. Each factory manager is answerable to Irene and she commands a lot of responsibility in this senior position.
“Women are treated no differently to men at Camden – there is equality right across the board – which is something I find really refreshing,” said Irene.
She added: “From those at the very top of the business, right through to those out on the factory floor, women are everywhere and it’s completely the norm here.”
Kirsty Strain is our Quality Control Supervisor in the glass factory. She began her Camden journey as a decorative glass operative in 2015 and has since been promoted twice.
Kirsty says she feels there is “a more open approach to gender equality in all roles” at Camden.
“I didn’t achieve the role I am in today because of my gender, but because of my skills and consistent work ethic. It’s refreshing to be in a working environment where the stigma is broken,” Kirsty added.
We also spoke to Sheree Gribbon who is a Customer Support Manager. Sheree manages the customer support department who have direct contact with all Camden customers
Sheree, who has been at Camden for over 5 years, manages a predominately female team however it includes a number of male employees as well. They all work extremely well together and there is complete respect for Sheree as a female manager.
Lastly, Louise Carleton is a Production Manager at Camden. Upon joining Camden 20 years ago, Louise worked her way up to this much more senior position, encompassing new responsibility which she has taken in her stride.
“I never found my gender to be a barrier to my career progression here. It was never even a consideration! There is an ethos of gender equality throughout Camden which means it doesn’t even need to be addressed,” explained Louise.
Gender equality is embedded into Camden and is something that, particularly on IWD, we are proud to celebrate. The culture at Camden, we hope, demonstrates to young women and girls that the manufacturing industry is not simply for boys.
However, there is still so much to be done both in the manufacturing industry and beyond, and we remain committed to playing our part in that.
To find out more about International Women’s Day, their missions and how you can get involved, visit their website here