YOOX NET-A-PORTER celebrate equality with Voice & Vote

June 17, 2018

YOOX NET-A-PORTER Group is amongst the corporations, organisations and activists who feature in Voice & Vote, a commemorative celebration of women’s rights unveiled at the History of Parliament in central London yesterday evening. Written by academics and experts, the Voice & Vote album’s release marks 100 Years since the passing of the Representation of the People Act 1918, a package of electoral reforms that extended the vote to women in the United Kingdom for the first time.

Through interviews, archival imagery and documentation, Voice & Vote tells the story of the struggle for women to get the vote a century ago, right up to today, where the fight for equality continues. YOOX NET-A-PORTER’s feature in Voice & Vote comes in recognition of our Group’s efforts to build a more equal future for our industry, both online and in the boardroom. Read the full feature below.

Conscientious Couture

Internet retailer YOOX NET-A-PORTER Group ensures that it is female-friendly – both online and in the boardroom. As the world’s leading online luxury retailer, selling labels such as Stella McCartney and Saint Laurent, YOOX NET-A-PORTER Group (YNAP) is known for setting the trends that others follow. But directional fashion isn’t the only way in which this fashion-tech firm is ahead of the curve. It is also pioneering a new business model that puts promoting women at the heart of everything it does.

From new hires – 63 per cent are women – to its majority-female management team, YNAP is unique in the way it empowers women to succeed at every level. In the UK, women still hold less than a quarter of all board positions, but at YNAP 50 per cent of executives are female. Most remarkably, the organisation does not have the pay gap challenges of others companies.

“We firmly believe talent should be remunerated in the right way, irrespective of gender,” says Deborah Lee, the group’s Chief People Officer. “It’s about being a true meritocracy, so when someone contributes more, they should receive those rewards. And it just so happens that in our business, it’s the women who tend to earn more.” YNAP’s game-changing approach to attracting and retaining talent has earned it global recognition as a top recruiter and employer. The group was listed among the Top 300 Graduate Employers in the UK by The Guardian newspaper and was included in the Top Attractors in the UK rankings, compiled in June 2016 by professional network LinkedIn. The company’s message is that empowering women and closing the gender pay gap isn’t just the right thing to do, but a key business priority. “Women form half the world’s population,” says Lee. “It’s a travesty that this isn’t represented in business or politics. We can’t change the world, but we can make sure our company sets an example we’d like to see elsewhere.”

YNAP was created in 2015 from the merger of the Italian fashion giant YOOX, founded by Federico Marchetti, and hugely influential luxury retailer the NET-A-PORTER Group. Both organisations recognised the importance of supporting women and, in 2017, enshrined this belief in a public pledge. “We’re committed to empowering women, developing young talent and leading the drive towards sustainability in fashion,” says Bruno-Roland Bernard, Communications Director. “Equality is a natural part of the culture of the group. It’s not even a question for our millennial workforce.”

YNAP’s policies include offering flexible working, and supporting mothers with individual coaching before, during and after maternity leave. “Our CEO leads from the top,” says Lee. “We seek out and destroy any reason for bias. There are no set rules about what you need to be like. We allow people to flourish in different ways and bring their whole selves to work.”

Lee and Bernard believe it’s the 21st century formula for success. “We are a growth business and we offer great service to our customers, but we can only do that by having the best talent,” says Bernard. “That means engaging that talent differently.”

The company’s aim is for this enlightened attitude to create a ripple effect in the world of tech and beyond. “We hope that other companies will follow our lead and adopt similar fair-hiring, promotion and compensation practises,” says Lee. “Equality isn’t complicated. It’s simply a matter of removing the excuses.”

Originally published in  Voice & Vote, the official History of Parliament Trust Vote 100 commemorative album. https://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/vote-100/