Gender equity is receiving global attention as women across the world struggle for recognition of their abilities, especially in non-affluent nations. Handweaving chains may seem an unusual way to empower women in business, but this is exactly how John Hardy champions females every day in Bali.
Embracing women in business.
The world is finally talking about the personal and professional obstacles women face daily. International Women’s Day, March 8, and the women’s empowerment movement, Time’s Up, has served to increase much-needed awareness.
While the rest of the world is catching up to the idea of promoting women in business, John Hardy has been doing it since 1975.
Known as a brand that champions female artisans, John Hardy employs Balinese women to craft fine jewelry including John Hardy’s signature motif, the Classic Chain.
How chain weaving weaves success for women.
Chain weaving is an intricate task requiring great skill. It can take four hours to weave a single inch. But this time-honored tradition does more than just create a wearable piece of art. Chain weaving is a proven way to bring success to women and their families.
Women in Bali traditionally work together in the community to make intricate and beautiful woven baskets as offerings for the gods. At John Hardy, women work together weaving the Classic Chain, allowing them to not only succeed individually but as a group. John Hardy also has a program that enables single women to work from home, so they don’t have to choose between making a living or raising their children.
A single mother takes control.
Ni Made Rentini has worked at John Hardy for twenty years. Although she came from a family with a background in artisanry, her skills were rudimentary when she began as a single mom of a toddler son. By focusing on chain weaving alone, she became a master.
The work environment has a feeling of family, which seems natural, considering she has several relatives that also work at the jewelry making compound in Ubud, Bali. Her children are older now, but the workshop is close enough to her home that she can go home and visit them at lunchtime.
Working at John Hardy made it possible for her to balance her career and her family. In the process, she feels meditative and full of happiness. Chain weaving is a time-intensive process, done entirely by hand, but it is a job she cherishes.
Taking the story to the world.
Rentini’s story of success as a woman is but one of many. This celebration of womanhood has caught the attention of powerful and outspoken women across the world.
Adwoah Aboah, self-described as an activist, model, and founder of GURLS TALK, chose to represent John Hardy for the brand’s support of women. Julianne Moore, an actor and activist, also represented John Hardy because of its part in empowering women. Penelope Cruz has now taken on the role of brand ambassador.
In an interview with Women in the World’s Tina Brown, Cruz explained that she is a big fan of John Hardy because she shares the brand’s values. Cruz uses her platform to affect positive change for women. She feels that everyone has “a responsibility to speak for all the women who will never have access to a microphone. There are still problems to be solved.” Cruz highlights that “every time you look at one of these pieces, it feels like you know the history behind them.”
You cannot see how John Hardy has worked to support women in business by simply wearing a piece of their Classic Chain. So the brand educates its customers around the world through interactive and engaging stories about the complex jewelry-making process. Because every time someone purchases their Classic Chain – supporting women is exactly what they are doing.
John Hardy does not merely highlight their work to empower women in business. The brand takes the time to highlight favorite female firebrands (or women who speak out about a cause they are passionate about), naming them Dragon Women. The company highlights these women for blazing trails in business. They hope to encourage others to overcome adversity and self-doubt and generate tangible, positive social change.
Here are some of the strong women in business they have featured:
Cindy Gallop was a business startup legend who left the industry to work in social change. One of her startups, IfWeRanTheWorld, highlights the challenges female entrepreneurs face, such as sexism, racism, and sexual harassment. The idea is to focus on collectivism, collaboration, and a sense of community to affect change.
Folasade Adeoso, born in Nigeria, is a self-taught web designer who launched her tech brand. Her goal is to provide women the resources needed to start their businesses. She notes that most of the negative thoughts that stopped her from going for it were “simply made up in my head.” She says the essential part of success is being confident and believing in the work that you do.
Natalia Calvani does not let age or gender stop her from trying to bring awareness to others. She knows that she has “the right to speak on behalf of myself; people like me, and people who don’t have a voice.” If all people felt this way, the issues women face would likely be non-existent.
The exquisite results of passion and purpose – the Classic Chain collection.
Gender equity does not happen with words alone – inspirational action is required. At John Hardy, the result of this progress is a product that holds beauty and boldness. Although chain weaving has been apart of Balinese culture for centuries – passed down from the jewelers of Bali’s ancient royal courts – the art has evolved in complexity and beauty.
To create the Classic Chain, women weave silver and gold links by hand, then knead and polish them to perfection. All the reclaimed silver and gold used in the weave has been molded around a titanium ribbon, so each chain maintains a lifetime of integrity. The result? Timeless pieces that can be worn every day by men and women alike.
When you purchase items from John Hardy, you support women empowerment. The Classic Chain collection is an entire collection devoted to promoting women artisans. The beauty that will adorn you reflects the beauty of these female masters.