Order! Order! Fashionizer Makes its Parliamentary Debut
International Women’s Day might have normally presented us with an opportunity for a blog, but with a deadline looming, our attention was focussed on more day-to-day business matters.
As a concept it’s right up our street because it champions the role of women worldwide. Like much of the fashion, spa and hospitality industries, ours is a workforce that is predominantly made up of women. Our team is diverse and international too, so equality is something that is part of the fabric (if you will forgive the pun) of our workplace.
But it turned out that we should have been paying a little more attention to what other people were doing to mark the day, because, to our delight and surprise, we discovered that we had been mentioned in the House of Commons as part of an International Women’s Day debate.
Our local MP, Ruth Cadbury, visited Fashionizer few weeks ago. In her role on the parliamentary Women and Equalities Committee, she was particularly interested in our flexible approach to working arrangements. She was so impressed that when she spoke in the Commons debate, she chose to cite us as an example of a company that has a creative approach to employing people, particularly women.
She told the Commons: “An employer in my constituency, Debbie Leon, who represents a successful and growing company called Fashionizer, recognises that having flexible working practices enables her to get the best employees in the field. Unfortunately, such practices are not always to be found in traditional workplaces…” You can check out Ruth’s full speech here (we are mentioned at 17.42.00).
When she came to our offices, Ruth’s concern was that women weren’t even going for certain jobs because they didn’t expect to get them, even though they had the skills to do them. “They are only going for jobs that they know already suit their arrangements,” she told us.
To us, flexibility is normal, and we can’t really understand why everyone doesn’t make the most of the talent that is available. Our accountant, Steph, comes into the office a few days a month, while our blogger, Sue (hello!) comes in every other week. We also have former full-time staff who return to work on specific projects, sometimes on a part-time basis, sometimes full-time. Parity means equality across the board, so our flexibility applies to the men on our staff too: our machinist Emmanuel chooses to work three days each week, to enable him to pursue other interests.
But the biggest surprise to us was to hear how rare such arrangements are, and how difficult it is to find a job that isn’t a full-time 9-5 post.
We are no strangers to Parliamentary visits, having entertained Vince Cable and Nick Clegg a couple of years ago, but we can safely say that this is our first appearance in the House of Commons. Well, we knew we were special…