The Women’s Jewellery Network, launched in the UK three years ago in a bid to smash the industry’s “glass ceiling”, has closed with immediate effect.
It was founded by Victoria McKay, former chief operating officer of the London Diamond Bourse. It built up a following of thousands and an ambassador network covering many more countries, including Israel, Belgium, France, Brazil and Denmark.
Ms McKay (pictured) said changes in her work life meant she was no longer able to lead the WJN.
She was “heartbroken” at the difficult decision to close the members’ networks and website but said the WJN could only have survived by becoming a commercial concern that paid her and colleagues a living wage – something they didn’t want.
In an open letter posted on the jewellerycut.com website, she laments the fact that there is still a long way to go in the battle against all forms of inequality.
“We have been campaigning about equality, leading with gender parity, for years,” she writes. “And we have seen little movement.
“In reality, the situation is that collectively jewellery industry leaders have not addressed issues around diversity and inclusion. Be that gender, race, sexuality or any other marginalised group.
“The industry remains led by white men, with a notable presence of Asian and minority ethnic leaders elsewhere in the trade. Yet it’s less welcoming to black people who strive for inclusion than it is to women.”