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Gender gap@Past tense? Panel on the dark side of female entrepreneurship in textile and clothing, Romania

Panel discussion by REDU and ZIPHOUSE Labs

Goals of the get-together

Within the SheMakes project we are trying to formulate the common perspective on women innovators and the gender gap, and to come up with guidelines for the labs to become an enabling environment for women. We do that by:

  • Co-creating a safe space for the conversation to happen openly and identifying the shared vision/point of view of our community towards bridging the gender gap.
  • Making things explicit that are often implicit.

Because nowadays success is often defined by omitting the failures and the down sides of a career, we aimed to highlight the latter. We found it much more encouraging and empowering for women today to draw inspiration from real success stories that contain setbacks, and disappointments, and abuse.

We hope that by sharing this video we can empower women to point out injustices, abuses, discrimination of any kind and help create a better world. Through the shemakes project we wanted to bring together 5 young women working in the textile industry and discuss their successful career paths, taking into account both good and not so good experiences.



  • Space for the event with the right light, acoustics and room for all the equipment and participants.
  • Filming set-up: 2 cameras one fixed for the general plan and one for close-ups
  • Charged photo camera for documentation to share after the event.
  • Microphones for all participants + moderator


  • Moderator: who may be part of the project team or an experienced facilitator invited to mediate, will be in charge of preparing the questions and getting to know the invited persons beforehand.Of course the project team will provide him/her with the project information, the purpose of the meeting and a set of key questions to be included in the interview.
  • Filming crew: the film crew needs to see/know the space beforehand to know exactly what equipment they will need to bring on the day of the shoot - lights, ambient microphones, positioning of the interviewers and therefore the cameras. Because it will be a two camera shoot, the camera crew must be made up of a minimum of two persons. The shooting team will then process the raw video with the additions related to the shemakes identity: intro, outro, disclaimer, music.
  • Observer: Someone from the team taking notes, writing down the interesting quotes & documenting the process: pictures & videos ( aso sharing on social media some making off stories)
  • Communication: announce the event, prepair making-of social media posts and stories. In the time following the shooting, post on social media the release date of the interview. Don't forget to have the consent forms signed.


  1. Preparing the setup and testing (15 min)

  2. About YOUR LAB, Shemakes and today's meeting (20 min)

  3. Welcome the guests (10 min)

  4. The actual filmed interview (60 min)

  5. Reflection and wrapping up (30 min)

  6. Cleaning up (30 min)

1 - Preparing the setup and testing (15 min)

Whether we do this event in house or in another space, the venue/room must be prepared(cameras, lights, microfones, table, chairs, all must be in place) either the day before or before the event. The time required for all this preparation would be approximately 30 minutes. Ideally everything should be ready before the guests arrive. It is important for them to get them comfortable with the space.

2 - Welcome the guests (10 min)

Once the guests arrive they will be picked up by the moderator, get to know each other and slowly prepare for the start of the shoot. If they don't feel ready for the filming, we can give them another 5-10 minutes. The moderator during this settling in time can tell them in more detail what will happen in the next hour, and briefly present the content.

3 - Actual filmed interview(60 min)

General intro Why This evening is part of the sheakes project.

shemakes - An European project focusing on enabling females to become the leaders and innovators of the future in the textile and clothing industry.

No matter how many questions you prepare for your interview invitees, the conversation almost always goes into areas you might not otherwise have thought of, but that's a great thing. Interaction and spontaneity.

Below are some of the questions asked during the Gender gap@Past tense? Interview.

What has it been like for you as women to get to the point where you are now in this industry where the main component of the workforce is female and rife with abuse?

We tend to think of this kind of abuse as something that perhaps our parents' generation experienced. How do you as a younger generation see the gender gap?

We talk a lot about change, companies talk about social inclusion policies, gender balance, workplace safety rules, but when you go into factories you often find that the situation is totally different. From your experience and career so far, do you have examples of these kinds of irregularities? What about good practice?

When we talk about smaller teams, as in the case of start-ups, the environment is much more controllable and decisions are shared among people who usually have the same principles. Could this form of organization be more ethical and employee-friendly?

The problems are systemic and the approach has to come from those who generate the context (i.e. those who generate these new start-ups) but also through public policy. Without the support of fair laws, without the support of fair and equitable public services, things cannot move. Do you think that small enterprises/start-ups can take full responsibility for changing the textile industry altogether?

Is there a gender gap also because the entrepreneurial area is still associated with men?

How do you keep your principles and values (brand) also in communication? We live in a visual society where marketing campaigns are often a much more important component for some brands than the production process or the working conditions and salaries of employees.

What problems have you encountered when it comes to the marketplace?

Interacting with men in the textile industry. Where do you interact with them? What experiences have you had?

Can we identify together some goals that we could set for a much more gender neutral, inclusive and sustainable industry?

4 - Reflection and wrapping up (30 min)

The reflective part will happen more in the discussion after the shooting. Allow your panelists to get to know each other better after the cameras stop in a more relaxed environment. That's why a space for snacks and a second coffee is welcome.

Thank the guests for what they are doing and for accepting your invitation.

5 - Cleaning up (30 min)

The headline must say it all. Leave the space as you found it.

If you are curious how the interview organized by the REDU team in Iasi, Romania turned out, you can access the link below:


Last update: December 12, 2022