By Vicky Validakis, 12 November 2014
Whilst working as an accountant for BHP, 28-year-old Kym Clark saw there was a gap in the market for women’s workwear and set about ensuring women could be comfortable in PPE.
The line, called Kym by She’s Empowered, provides hi-vis everyday safety workwear and maternity uniforms for the growing number of women in the mining and resources industry.
“I could not believe the lack of workwear options for women in mining,” Clark said. “Until my business was developed, there were no maternity workwear options for industrial workers. I knew I had the ability and drive to change that. “Women work in all areas of the industry from administration to underground and open cut roles, and often work upwards of 50 hours a week. Women deserve to wear a well-fitted uniform just like those in any other industry,” she said.
Anglo American’s Diversity and Inclusion Specialist, Rebecca Capper, said the company was excited to be the first global mining company to source personal protective apparel through She’s Empowered. “As a company that values diversity and inclusion in our workforce, we are delighted to offer women a choice in workwear that aligns with our safety requirements while keeping them comfortable during their pregnancy,” Capper said.
Since the arrival of first stock last November other companies including BHP Billiton, Glencore, and One Steel have demonstrated their support towards the innovative workwear label.
Clark told Australian Mining She’s Empowered is all about giving women a choice so they can be confident and comfortable at work.
“Being comfortable improves working conditions,” she said. “Mining is a great industry for women; it just needs a little tweak to make it work better for women.”
With this in mind Clark took a proactive approach to create well-fitted shirts in sizes ranging from 6 to 16 and has also designed a double box pleat front in the pregnancy range which fits nicely over a growing baby bump. The 100 per cent stretch cotton fabric is strong but not harsh, feels comfortable against the skin and allows for the full range of movement.
The entire range is Australian Standard compliant, and even the buttons are enclosed – making ironing much easier.
“Personal protective clothing is part of the industry and having clothing that fits and flatters the female body is vital in helping women feel comfortable and confident in their work environment,” Clark said.
After experiencing such a positive response to the initial She’s Empowered designs Kym recently added two new designs to the collection – work trousers and a new women’s cut hi-vis top.
Testimonials on the She’s Empowered website show how women in the mining industry have taken to the clothing.
“Having been in the mining industry for four years, I was ecstatic to come across comfortable workwear I can wear on site,” one Anglo worker said.
“It’s easy to see that the She’s Empowered range is designed specifically with women in mind, with lightweight fabrics that stretch, darts positioned in the right place and long sleeves that won’t ride up your forearms.
“It’s also great to see they stock a range of sizes that fit women’s shapes generously. I am a size 14 and find the shirts very accommodating. Coming to work every day in a well-fitting, comfortable uniform is great, I would recommend She’s Empowered to any woman working in roles that require high vis shirts.”