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Happy International Women’s Day from WJI 2030


Dear Friends & Stakeholders of the Industry,

Happy International Women’s Day on behalf of the Watch & Jewellery Initiative 2030 (WJI 2030). We welcome companies and key stakeholders to join our movement to accelerate positive impact in three areas: building climate resilience, preserving resources, and fostering inclusiveness.

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress. At the core of Pillar 3 – Fostering Inclusivity, lies the Women’s Empowerment Principles, providing a foundation that propels our collective commitment towards gender equality. Recognizing the potential for holistic impact on gender equality that the Women’s Empowerment Principles provide, WJI 2030 and our members extend our reach beyond our immediate operations to encompass the entirety of the watch and jewellery supply chain. Please check out the results of our gender responsive procurement pilot and the recommendations made by UN Women. Again we thank Cartier, Dimexon, Gucci, Italpreziosi, Julie Sandlau Vietnam, Monica Vinader, Rosy Blue, Rubel & Menasché and Swarovski for their dedication and commitment, we look forward to phase two of the pilot.

Only 15% of the indicators of the fifth Sustainable Development Goal are on track to meet the 2030 targets, and the latest forecasts estimate that on our current track, it will take another 300 years to reach full gender equality. Today, 41 Companies of WJI 2030 are WEPs signatories. We realize that some companies are advanced, while others are evolving. It is the journey that matters, and the time is now to take action.

We welcome companies, associations, and key stakeholders to join our movement to accelerate positive impact on this critical topic. We should not forget that 90% of consumer behavior is influenced by women, and yet many reports show that gender is often not a strategic priority. We have no doubt that our ambitious goals combined with our collective action will help accelerate change.

As a leader in the industry, you have a unique opportunity to advance SDG 5 – Gender Equality. That’s why we ask you to sign and promote the Women’s Empowerment Principles today and encourage your networks and communities to take action. We encourage you to read the interview with Anna Falth, Head of UN Women WEPs Team, on the current status and the importance of gender equality.

We are here to support you in this journey. WJI 2030 in collaboration with the UN Women WEPs Team is organizing a WEPs Roadshow to activate and accelerate the journey. Please read on for how you can participate and get started.

A special thank you to PANDORA for empowering this WEPs Equality for All Programme that is instrumental to bring SDG 5 at the forefront of every business strategy.

Looking forward to hearing about the actions you are taking.

Iris Van der Veken

Executive Director & Secretary General

Watch & Jewellery Initiative 2030


On the occasion of International Women’s Day, we are pleased to announce that WJI 2030 in Partnership with UN Women and BSR, is launching “Equality for All”.

Did you know?

  • Women drive demand of > 90 % of the world’s jewellery purchases
  • Women constitute 70% of the jewellery manufacturing workforce and make up a large portion of the industry’s value chain
  • Women make up around 40-50% of the workforce in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) in Africa. ASM provides vital livelihoods for ~45 million people globally

And somehow… 

  • Men lead this industry – 72% of CEOs are male amongst the 109 largest luxury companies, and diversity remains low in C-suite roles
  • Women hold 11.5% of executive management positions in the top 100 mining companies

Our vision is to accelerate industry action on gender equality and promote the economic empowerment of women workers. It is our goal to deliver measurable improvements in the lives of all jewellery industry workers by 2030.

“Equality for All” is our call to action. We will be providing a comprehensive program with the ambition to improve economic opportunities for women in the workplace, marketplace, and community to promote greater inclusion overall. To initiate this exciting collaboration, we are pleased to be launching the following:

  1. Building momentum to empower the WEPs – an opportunity for all industry associations and initiatives to take action and spread awareness to encourage associations to empower the WEPs in their communities. More information is available below for how you can take part.
  2. From activation to acceleration – we are launching a curated programme for our members on how to activate the WEPs framework, providing practical guidance and opening the discussion to enable best-practice sharing. WJI 2030 will be releasing a public case study on how companies can activate WEPs for the UN General Assembly in September 2024, with longer-term opportunities for companies to showcase leading practices.

Empowered by



The Watch & Jewellery Initiative 2030 truly believes that industry associations play a pivotal role in shaping the landscape by serving as collective voices for companies within those industries. Their significance lies in their ability to foster collaboration, share knowledge, and advocate for common interests. Through industry associations businesses can pool resources, leverage expertise, and collectively address challenges that may be too complex to tackle alone.

Furthermore, associations have the potential to build momentum around critical topics by uniting diverse stakeholders, amplifying shared goals, and driving collective action.

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, WJI 2030 invites all associations to build momentum and do their part in actioning the Women’s Empowerment Principles to accelerate the Gender Equality agenda.

Building momentum around the WEPs requires sustained commitment, collaboration, and innovation to dismantle barriers to gender equality and create opportunities for women to meaningfully participate in all aspects of society and the economy.

Join the following webinar in collaboration with the UN Women WEPs Team to see how you can build capacity within your networks to action the gender agenda and advance the WEPs in your communities.

Register now

What will the session cover? 

  • Introduction to the WEPs
  • How your association can build momentum
  • The business case for companies
  • First steps to take action
  • Case studies
  • Report back: associations will be asked to report back to WJI 2030 on how they activated their communities

March 7 2024, New York

Leaders of US industry gathered at the UN Women WEPs Secretariat to discuss the launch of the WJI 2030 “Equality for All” programme for the industry’s associations. Participants included Iris Van der Veken, Executive Director & Secretary General, WJI 2030, Anna Falth, Head of WEPs, UN Women, Tiffany Stevens, CEO and General Council, and Rebecca Foerster, Chairman, of Jewelers Vigilance Committee, John W. Ford, Sr., CEO, AGTA, Lisa Koenigsberg, President, Initiatives in Art and Culture, Jenny Luker, President, Platinum Guild International, Jen Marraccino, Senior Director of Development, Pure Earth, Maliya McNaughton, Board President, Black in Jewelry Coalition, Monica Stephenson, Immediate Past President, Ethical Metalsmiths, Rebecca Villalobos, Advisor, Sustainability Programs and Strategy, Mejuri, Cristina M. Villegas, Director of Sustainable Jewelry and Strategic Initiatives, PACT.

This roundtable served as an opportunity to reflect on the current status of the industry and launch a series of consultative roundtables across the world. These global consultations will support the design and curation of guidance and practical tools for industry associations to join collective actions to activate, accelerate and report back on progress, to ultimately make gender equality and women’s rights a lived reality for current and future generations. WJI 2030 will be hosting other round tables globally. The programme will galvanize attention and action on key themes including governance, leadership, equal pay, workplaces that are diverse, inclusive, and free of violence, marketing practices, community impact and more.

Anna Falth, Head of WEPs, UN Women

What is the status of gender equality today?

In a nutshell, things are not looking great. Gender equality remains unfinished business in every country in the world. Women and girls have less access to education and healthcare, too often lack economic independence and are under-represented in decision-making roles.

Only 15% of the indicators of the fifth Sustainable Development Goals are on track to meet the 2030 targets, and it is predicted that it will take nearly 300 years to get there.

What is really worrying is that one in three women will experience gender-based violence in their lifetime. Until we tackle this issue, achieving SDG 5 is going to be an uphill battle. A workplace issue, it hinders women’s full employment and career growth.

Left to Right: Nina Nepesova, Consultant in Social Impacts and Human Rights, Cyrille Vigneron, President & CEO, Cartier SA, Anna Falth, Head of WEPs, UN Women, Iris Van der Veken, Executive Director and Secretary General, WJI 2030

How do you believe companies in the watch & jewellery industry can accelerate the agenda?

Companies in the watch and jewelry industry have a key role to play to accelerate the gender equality agenda. The Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) lays out a framework of seven principles to show the path for companies. From an individual company perspective, the principles span corporate leadership that embed gender equality into the core of the business mission and operations and take concrete action in the workplace, marketplace and community. Gender-responsive corporate culture and accountability measures alongside tracking and transparency on progress and results are key to a sustainable and irreversible journey. However, there is a lot that the industry could do to jointly to accelerate gender equality. One example that comes to mind is adopting an industry-wide supplier code of conduct that propels gender equality forward throughout the industry. Just imagine the impact it could have.

What do you see as the role of the CEO and management to accelerate the agenda?

We have seen that when CEOs make the commitment to the WEPs, their companies are performing much better on gender equality than those who have not. The WEPs facilitates top leadership commitment and a sustainable follow through of the commitment. A truly committed CEO and management team walk the talk. They make gender equality a corporate priority and a day-to-day business concern for everyone in the company no matter their roles or levels. A CEO who holds their teams to account with formal reporting requirements, and who raises issues and includes gender equality in management meeting agendas, puts in motion conversations and actions throughout the company that will help accelerate WEPs implementation.

What are some priorities the WEPs team is currently working on to support companies operationalize the WEPs framework?

We are working on a few different workstreams, including providing companies with an extensive toolkit of tools, resources, monthly webinars, training and capacity building. We have observed that many companies are already working on Workplace policies and strategies, so we have shifted our priority to provide further guidance and engagement opportunities on integrating gender equality to the Marketplace – the core of business operations – as well as how to effectively engage with women and girls in local Communities. This includes the WJI 2030-WEPs pilot on gender-responsive procurement and inclusive supply chains.

Another priority area for us is to better understand what impact WEPs signatories’ implementation has had. For example, among the current 10,000 signatories, how many have substantially increased the number of women in leadership positions, or engaged with gender-responsive companies in their supply chains? We hope to showcase these results in 2025.

How do you connect the dots between Gender Equality and the broader Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) agenda?

For us at UN Women, the dots are very clear. Gender equality is about human rights and treating all stakeholders with dignity and respect. It is about acknowledging that individuals hold multiple identities (e.g. gender, age, race, ethnicity and more) and highlighting that each face unique challenges. It is about creating a culture in which everyone, no matter their identity, can prosper and thrive inside the company, in its supply chain and in the community. So these are not separate agendas, they are one and the same.

What has been your biggest learning curve working with WJI 2030 members?

I already knew that WJI 2030 members are committed to sustainable development, but learned through our collaboration what your challenges are and how you are tackling them. I look forward to continuing this collaboration in years to come to learn more from all of you.




Together with nine pioneering members, UN Women partnered with Watch & Jewellery Initiative 2030 to launch a pilot programme that evaluates gender-responsive procurement in the jewellery industry. Nine members of WJI 2030 took part in this global initiative, marking the first-ever endeavour to apply the tool within an industry-specific context, and aiming to assess and enhance gender equality practices within the jewellery sector. Companies participating in the pilot included Cartier, Dimexon, Gucci, Italpreziosi, Julie Sandlau Vietnam, Monica Vinader, Rosy Blue, Rubel & Menasché and Swarovski. At the UN General Assembly held in September, the joint case study was launched in partnership with the Women Empowerment Principles Secretariat housed at UN Women. Read the case study here.

As the first phase of the pilot project on gender-responsive procurement concluded, pilot companies demonstrated real commitment to gender equality, speaking volumes about companies’ dedication to fostering positive change for gender equality in the workplace, marketplace and community. However, the report also brought to light common challenges evidencing the need to move forward faster to create gender equality now as the global political landscape has seen backsliding in progress made on SDG 5.

WJI 2030, UN Women and the pilot participants are launching a second pilot phase in March 2024 to involve their suppliers, and to co-design GRP tools and resources to continue to strengthen gender equality in global supply chains.

Ada Thelma Thela, Founder and Managing Director, Zoe Diamonds (Pty) Ltd

Who are you?

My name is Ada Thelma Thela, a 31-year-old Botswana woman. Born and raised in Gaborone, Botswana, I am the founder and Managing Director of Zoe Diamonds (Pty) Ltd.  Zoe Diamonds is a diamond manufacturing service provider; we also facilitate the purchase of rough diamonds via our registration with Okavango Diamond Company on a commission basis.

How did your journey begin?

My entrepreneurial journey within the diamond industry began in 2016, when I was selected to be part of the Okavango Diamond Company Youth Entrepreneurship Program (Cohort 1). Upon successful completion of the program, I secured a paid apprenticeship with WDM-Botswana (Constell Group) for a period of two years, during which I actively polished both round brilliant and fancy shapes. I continued training extensively with them in various positions for an additional four years,learning everything from import to export, and being exposed to all management functionsin order to fully understand the diamond manufacturing trade and industry. I am very passionate about the product and the transformative power of diamonds on people’s lives.

Where are you?

Zoe Diamonds began operations in April 2023. We currently pride ourselves in employing 6 diamond polishers; both male and female between the ages of 25 and 40, and aim to employ more in the coming years. We polish both round brilliant and fancy shape diamonds from 0.3 carats to 2.5 carats; GIA EX, Very Good and commercial qualities made to our client’s specifications. Our highlights thus far have been winning the AU-UNDP Youth in Trade Challenge 2022 and being 1st runner up at Pitch Facets 2023.

Moving forward we would like to engage in business with various stakeholders both locally and internationally. We would also like to collaborate with various jewellers and brands (such as House of Divinity). Our challenges thus far have been the slowing of business activity due to the downturn of the overall diamond industry, gaining access to markets for our services, and having access to finances to scale up our business operations.

Advice to the industry

My advice to the industry is to be more inclusive, to have the participation of a diverse group of people from different backgrounds as entrepreneurs or leaders within the diamond industry globally. This will extend the positive reach and impact that diamonds have on communities. Secondly, industry leaders should support the youth in business by actively buying into their products and services, collaborating with start-ups on various business projects, as well as giving their brands visibility. Women should also be empowered for leadership roles and business opportunities within the industry to increase their representation in a field that is typically male-dominated. Just as it is true that “when you educate a woman, you educate a nation,” so is it true that” when you economically and financially empower a woman, you economically and financially empower a nation.”