How Women Are Driving Change in the Workwear Sector

How Women Are Driving Change in the Workwear Sector

Adlington, United Kingdom: The evolution of workwear to include designs that cater to women in the workplace marks a significant stride towards inclusivity. Historically, work environments have predominantly featured attire designed for men, often overlooking the specific requirements and safety of women. The shift towards creating workwear that meets women's needs is not just about clothing; it acknowledges women's integral roles across various sectors, from the boardroom to the manufacturing site, ensuring female workers are equipped to thrive.

Women's Workwear Market Trends and Growth

According to a report from The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the women's workwear market is projected to expand significantly from 2022 to 2027, outpacing previous growth rates. Germany, which held the largest workwear market in 2020, has seen a notable 5.2% surge in women's work attire. In some regions, the growth of women's workwear has even outstripped that of men's. For example, in the Netherlands, the women's segment experienced a remarkable 19.2% growth, overshadowing the men's increase of just 11.2% from 2015 to 2020.

In certain instances, women's workwear is growing at the expense of the men's sector. In Belgium, for instance, women's work attire grew by 10.5%, while the men's segment saw a decline of 2.2%, indicating a significant shift in market dynamics.

The Driving Forces Behind the Surge in Women's Workwear

An increasing number of women are entering professions traditionally dominated by men, such as construction and STEM-related roles. This shift has highlighted the need for fair workwear options, as the current disparity in clothing designed for men and women in these industries becomes more apparent. Initiatives within these sectors are ensuring that work attire effectively caters to women.

Louise Bradley, Technical and Design Coordinator at Cooneen Group, which specializes in the design, manufacture, and supply of garments and uniforms, emphasizes the importance of fit and durability in workwear. "Within the workplace, it is important that the workwear is fit for purpose and durable for the job role. A lot of focus is put into a better fitting garment, especially for female wearers, to ensure comfort. Our aim as a company is to work closely with the end user to gain invaluable feedback that we can design into their uniform. At Cooneen, we recently won the Inclusive Design Award through the PCIAW for including requirements for maternity, menopause, cultural, and gender fits in our design. This is a wonderful achievement and acknowledgement of all the hard work we put into diversity and inclusion."

The Importance of Textile Innovation for Inclusion

Sarah Wilsher from Sarah Wilsher Coaching Ltd, who provides training on menopause and menstrual health for businesses, explains that the fit and fabrics used in uniforms, especially PPE, can impact the symptoms experienced by women. "Women need uniforms to fit their frame properly, allowing unrestricted movement around the chest, waist, and hips to minimize fatigue and additional stress on joints and muscles. Breathable fabrics, adjustable waistbands, and cooling panels can enhance comfort, improving concentration, productivity, and morale."

Global workwear fabric manufacturer Carrington Textiles provides a perspective on how fabric technology fosters inclusion. "Our focus at Carrington Textiles is to redefine women's workwear through cutting-edge textile innovation. We are dedicated to engineering fabrics that exemplify the synergy of performance, protection, and unparalleled comfort," states Kirsty White, R&D Manager. "We are pioneering fabrics such as Tahoe, Lugano, and Meteor, meticulously crafted to offer elasticity, breathability, and lightweight characteristics without compromising protective aspects essential for workplace safety. These developments showcase our commitment to meeting and exceeding the ergonomic and functional needs of women in diverse work environments."


The evolution of women's workwear goes beyond fabric and function; it's a stride towards workplace equality and recognition of diversity. By aligning workwear with the needs of women, we are breaking traditional barriers, affirming women's vital roles across sectors, and fostering a workspace where everyone can excel.

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