The Story of Schijvens

Meet Shirley of Schijvens, a family-owned company in the Netherlands. Her her great-great-grandparents started the company 150 years ago, in the same building that now houses their office. Fifty years ago, her grandparents did not allow her mother to work in the company because of her gender but things have changed; Shirley is now the owner.

Schijvens makes workwear for many well-known Dutch companies. For over a century, their production took place in their own workshop in the Netherlands, but about 20 years ago they moved, acquiring their own factory in Turkey and outsourcing the rest to factories in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. 

Gender equality, for all workers in their supply chain, is a key ambition of Schijvens. Together with Fair Wear, Schijvens has been working with their suppliers to ensure that all workers are able to realise their right to safe, decent and properly paid employment. And they recognise that sustainable change only comes through social dialogue.

If you want to take concrete steps towards gender equality, there are of course, a lot of tools you can use, for example, social dialogue. And you need to listen, to the factories, to the workers, how they feel about it. So you have to really listen to each other and try to come to a compromise somewhere.

Watch the video to learn how Schijvens has worked on gender equality and what other brands can do about it!