Mining’s new dress code Despite an industry-wide focus on gender diversity, many women are still entering the worksite dressed in men’s protective clothing. Resource People spoke to two industry insiders changing the workwear landscape, one carefully tailored garment at a time.
KYM CLARK She’s Empowered
‘CLOTHES make the man’ – it is a long-held saying that refers to the influence clothing can have on a person’s standing in society. But while women are making a greater mark on the maledominated resource and related construction sectors than ever before, many still don high visibility and protective clothing constructed for men. It was in a meeting with her pregnant manager and male colleagues at a central Queensland mine site that first sparked Kym Clark’s idea for her ‘She’s Empowered’ line of workwear for women. “Looking around the room, I noticed how comfortable all the men looked in their uniforms while my heavily pregnant manager was wearing an unbuttoned high-vis shirt over a singlet.” Clark says. “I then started observing how other women in the workplace were wearing their uniform and the issues they had such as sleeve length and excess material. “From research I discovered there are eight different body shapes for women, so I created She’s Empowered to help make every woman feel comfortable at work and increase their sense of belonging.” Launched in 2013, She’s Empowered was the first clothing label to offer the industry a high visibility maternity shirt. Clark’s other designs, the Styleworker and Yoketastic, capitalise on
www.amma.org.au | Winter 2014 |
structured cuts conducive to comfort, style and safety. “I wanted to give pregnant women the option to wear a uniform that is designed to celebrate their pregnancy. The Baby Bump features two inverted pleats which accommodate a woman’s belly as it grows,” she says. “And when your clothes fit correctly, you are more confident and can easily get up and do that presentation. But it is also a safer option, for example, when you can do your sleeves up at the right length and easily comply with industry standards.” Apto PPE is another label meeting the gap in women’s protective workwear, originally developed from an Engineers Australia Women in Engineering National Committee initiative. Drawing on a career spanning 25 years in the engineering and construction sectors, Laurice Temple is one of three Apto directors who led the concept to fruition with the recent launch of the company’s Signature and Maternity range. Shirts boasting shaped waistlines, slimline collars and back ventilation, and pants with adjustable waistbands are clearly designed to appeal to a woman’s sense of style and comfort. However, Temple agrees safety is core to the clothing’s purpose. “At Apto our goal is to ensure safer working environments, starting with clothing. Whether women are a size four, a size 18 or pregnant, wearing ill-fitting clothing is unsafe,” Temple says.
The She’s Empowered high-vis maternity shirt.