Social sustainability requires equality.

Team BRACENET: Since our founding in 2016, we have grown to include 34 individuals, comprising 29 women and 5 men. Even our founding team maintained a healthy gender balance with 50% women, although unfortunately, this is not the norm. In 2018, two-thirds of all founders were male. In 2019, this trend slightly decreased, with an average of only about 1.7 male founders per female founder. Let's take a closer look!
bracenet team pia und paula

Team BRACENET – that’s us.

Since our founding in 2016, we have grown to include 34 individuals, comprising 29 women and 5 men. Even our founding team maintained a healthy gender balance with 50% women, although unfortunately, this is not the norm.

Our founding team powered by 50% woman: Madeleine and Benjamin

In 2018, two-thirds of all founders were male. In 2019, this trend slightly decreased, with an average of only about 1.7 male founders per female founder. This means that women continue to be underrepresented in the startup scene, even though their contributions are just as significant and essential as those of their male counterparts – and that is not sustainable. Since women often choose to start ventures with a social or environmental focus, their ideas and participation are of particular importance in the current sustainability discourse.

But let’s start from the beginning: What exactly is sustainability?

Sustainability has many facets. As the 17 Sustainable Development Goals illustrate, it’s about more than just reducing CO2 emissions and plastic usage. While we usually focus on the protection of life below water (Goal Number 14), we want to use this contribution to address the Sustainable Development Goals that have a social focus (including No Poverty, Gender Equality, and Reduced Inequalities).

Three-pillar model

The general definition is based on a three-pillar model, which highlights the ecological, economic, and social dimensions.

While the environmental pillar, for example, highlights that high meat consumption and the associated mass animal farming are problematic for sustainable development as they contribute to climate change, the economic pillar addresses the relationship between the economy and the environment. This involves responsible resource management and extending the life cycles of products, among other things. The third pillar is the least publicly communicated, which is why it often fades into the background. However, the social perspective is just as essential for sustainable development as the environmental and economic perspectives. The general goal is to provide everyone with equal opportunities and, in any case, a dignified life. Given that our current economic system is largely supported by people working under very questionable conditions and for low wages, it’s clear that social sustainability is often overlooked.

It is time to fight for more social responsibility.

Social sustainability – the theory

Social sustainability encompasses many different aspects, and one often underestimated key factor is gender equality. Gender equality is essential for upholding basic rights and achieving sustainable economic growth based on social and environmental development. Since women make up approximately half of the world’s population, they represent half of this potential. Many studies show that women often approach issues from different perspectives than men and make significant contributions to the well-being of society. Especially in the field of social entrepreneurship, as mentioned earlier, but also in sustainable entrepreneurship, there are significantly more female representatives than in profit-driven business startups.

Social sustainability – the practice

The theory is promising, but in practice, there’s unfortunately no way to sugarcoat it. Gender pay gaps, domestic violence, unequal distribution of household and family responsibilities, and even male-dominated leadership positions – sadly, all of these are still a reality. Despite many improvements, the goal of gender equality is far from being achieved. As mentioned earlier, women are significantly less represented in entrepreneurship and leadership positions. One of the reasons for this is that in 2015, the German government introduced a gender quota. Because gender-specific behavior is often deeply rooted in society, it is quite common in many countries for women to struggle to find decent employment and face overall professional disadvantages. Furthermore, girls and women, especially in developing and emerging economies, often suffer from restricted or denied access to education or healthcare. They are frequently victims of violence and discrimination worldwide and are underrepresented in political and economic decision-making processes.

What Covid-19 teaches us about Gender Equality

The current COVID-19 pandemic also highlights the shortcomings of the current system in this regard. Lockdowns in many countries or cities led to an increase in the incidence of domestic violence by up to 30% – including in Berlin, for example. Moreover, as never before, it became evident how crucial both the social and economic participation of women is, as they make up a significant portion of caregivers, public educators, and other social workers. Furthermore, in addition to this paid care work, women spend three times as much time as men on unpaid care, household, and childcare responsibilities – yet this remains completely unaccounted for in the economic system. It’s a significant contradiction because this unpaid work, primarily performed by women, largely supports and enables the current system, which places great value on productive, paid labor.

Women Empowerment

Our goal is sustainability. In our view, this not only includes an equal society but rather necessitates it. A world that exploits the disadvantaged and the weak cannot, by definition, be sustainable.

In order to achieve a long-term viable and thus sustainable economic system, rich countries cannot continue to live at the expense of poorer countries where mainly women do work for very little money. In addition to this economic exploitation, domestic violence, but also child marriage or FGM (female genital mutilation) unfortunately still exist to an alarming extent. It is important for us to draw attention to these abuses and to tackle these social inequalities. Let us act together in a socially responsible manner.

What you can do

There are many ways to support equal opportunities and promote equal rights. True to the motto “Your shopping list is a ballot paper”, it helps to start with your own consumer behaviour. We have put together a few suggestions for you:

Support women-owned companies

As mentioned earlier, women start businesses significantly less often than men. To promote gender equality and women’s economic participation, we can provide targeted support to businesses founded or led by women. The positive side effect of this is that these companies often include another important aspect.

Support fair working conditions

A well-known example of exploitative working conditions is found in the textile industry: Fast fashion is comfortable and cheap? Unfortunately not for everyone. Workers and the environment suffer from this industry and every purchase decision we make is a vote for or against this way of doing business. We can empower women (and people in general) simply by paying them fair wages for their work – after all, that’s what you want, too. It is therefore ideal to support fair businesses founded by women. Because the world needs more female entrepreneurs and social responsibility in production! At the same time, these women entrepreneurs can encourage others to realise their own potential.

Female-led companies with a social and environmentally sustainable commitment.

Support the fight against social ills

Of course, it is not only women who are fighting for a fairer world. Women empowerment also means human empowerment. We would therefore also like to take this opportunity to draw attention to the fact that more and more companies are based on business concepts that create added social value. They pursue different missions and yet all have the same goal: To enable (disadvantaged) people to have a better life. Some of our favourites are:

Of course, there are many more!

Be attentive!

Taking social responsibility doesn’t mean we have to start consuming wildly. Our everyday lives present dozens of situations in which we can advocate for equal opportunities. Especially in moments that seem questionable, it’s essential not to look away. This doesn’t mean getting involved in every minor altercation but rather speaking up or seeking help when people are disadvantaged due to their origin, disability, or gender, for example. Paying attention to specific signals can also help. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic violence increased significantly, so the “Signal For Help” provides a way for victims to silently call for assistance. Empowerment also involves destigmatization. Many women who are victims of domestic violence suffer in silence and confide in no one out of fear. However, to solve the problem, people need to talk about it and seek help. So, if you’re worried about a close friend, don’t hesitate to gently express your concerns and offer them a listening ear. It’s better to ask too many times than too few!


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We upcycle old fishing nets into new products like our “Bracenet” bracelets. But where do we get all these fishing nets? And what’s the deal when we talk about “recovered ghost nets,” “discarded fishing nets,” or “former fishing nets”? Does a “North Sea Bracenet” really come from the North Sea? Can we trace the origin of all our nets?

spendenübergabe healthy seas

Our Collected Donatoins

With BRACENET, you’re making a contribution to ocean conservation. More specifically, a double contribution: With every product, you help put an end to the menace of ghost nets and simultaneously donate towards the protection of the seas and marine life. We’re thrilled to announce our first major milestone: To date, we have collectively donated over a quarter of a million Euros – €250,558!

NEWSLETTER – 10 % discount!

Become part of our mission and subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed about new colors and products! As a welcome gift, you’ll receive a coupon code for a 10% discount on your first order right away. SAVE THE SEAS, WEAR A NET!