Reflecting on gender equality in the workplace with Vendela Lilliestråle, founder of Business and Dreams
SUPPORTING GENDER EQUALITY IS ONE OF OUR GOALS HERE AT STILBAAR, WHETHER IT IS BY SHOWCASING WOMEN-OWNED BRANDS OR BY DEFENDING FAIR WAGES IN FASHION SUPPLY CHAINS, MAINLY MAINTAINED BY WOMEN! THIS FEMINIST APPROACH IS SIMILAR TO VENDELA LILLIESTRALE’S, FOUNDER OF BUSINESS AND DREAMS, THE LARGEST NETWORK SUPPORTING WORKING WOMEN IN SWEDEN. WE HAD A CHAT WITH HER ABOUT BUILDING A BUSINESS AS A WOMAN AND WHAT CAN BE DONE TO SUPPORT GENDER EQUALITY IN THE WORKPLACE.
Vendela’s project was born after experiencing first-hand discrimination. “After working in a male-dominated industry for some years and experiencing inequality first-hand, my co-founder Camilla Lundin and I realized that there had to be a change and that we wanted to be part of it. While working mostly with men, we also met and read about some amazing women who were big role models to us and who we wanted to highlight. We, therefore, created an Instagram account doing just that”, says Vendela. BUSINESS AND DREAMS met a huge success, proving how needed and appreciated was the initiative: “We have been surprised by the need for a network like this. The journey has been quicker than we could have imagined. Right now, the biggest challenge for us is to prioritize among all the things we want to do.”
"Women are judged by experience, men by potential."
Ethical fashion is one of our main topics at Stilbaar, as the fashion industry plays a huge role for women everywhere! Vendela agrees, "The fashion industry is an enormous one and the ones working there have a lot of power to affect the world and change norms. This includes everything from working conditions to the representation of different body types. We love to see more and more women starting companies within fashion - equal ownership is such an important part of equality." Actions can be implemented in various parts of the industry to make things better.
BUSINESS AND DREAMS definitely has a feminist mindset. These values also shape Vendela's everyday life: "Being surrounded by so many amazing and knowledgeable women, I learn every day about feminism. What becomes apparent is that the need for equality exists in so many areas of our lives and that all these areas are highly connected. Suppose a woman earns less than her partner in the first place, and the couple, later on, decides to have a child. In that case, data shows that the woman will be away more from work to take care of the child in order not to affect their joint personal finances too much. This difference in salary will then increase as the man now has a career advantage. We also believe that the need for female entrepreneurs is important in order to increase female ownership. When working within finance, we noticed that the capital from many of the investors was created when doing an exit by a company they had founded. We, therefore, believe that increased female ownership and more female entrepreneurs go hand in hand." As Vendela explains, female representation is essential to gender equality. We will keep on supporting it at Stilbaar!
Here are Vendela's favourite Stilbaar products :
"I love the brand ORGANIC BASICS and their important work within sustainability. I really love that they work with organic and recycled materials and factories that minimize the environmental footprint.
Three pieces I really love from them are Tencel tank top dusty rose, organic cotton women's tee white and silver tech active workout bra in black."