Glove Intelligent Assistant
March is Women’s History Month which is a time to celebrate the vital role of women in history and to call for gender equality. The month is a reminder of the extraordinary accomplishments achieved by women in all spheres of society. This is especially present at SW as it is a company spearheaded by incredible women. Beginning as a woman founded company in 1984, SW continues its matriarchal legacy as a family owned and privately held company, succeeded by our current CEO, Belle Chou. For the past 39 years, she has been leading the industry with her promise to invest in quality manufacturing, focus on new product development, and create new features that benefit those who rely on SW products every day. She has been a pioneer in the field, creating innovative products that have benefited consumers’ comfort and ability to ensure their personal protection in their working environments. Such products consist of EnerGel, the first aloe vera infused disposable nitrile gloves to immediately deliver healthier, more hydrated skin for customers who work long hours with little moisturizing relief. Other technologies that she has produced, which prioritize the comfort of the consumer include DriTek, a moisture-wicking flock-lined system that manages sweat for healthier hands and easy donning and doffing. She has also created pH Natural and BreachAlert. pH Natural actively maintains skin pH levels to reduce skin issues while also reducing microbial growth. BreachAlert is SW’s dual color 2-ply construction that provides immediate visual breach detection. These are only a few of the numerous technologies that have been developed under her guidance.
She continues to push the industry forward towards a more sustainable future as well. The glove manufacturing industry continues to struggle with promoting environmentally sustainable praxis due to the nature of the demand for disposable gloves. The protective quality of the plastic polymers (nitrile, neoprene) used in glove manufacturing unfortunately take decades to degrade after disposal. However, Chou has worked with her research and development team to produce SW’s EcoTek technology. This innovative technology allows single use nitrile gloves to reduce waste completely after 2.5 years in commercial landfills or anaerobic (without the presence of oxygen) conditions.
With these illustrative accomplishments, Chou has been awarded as a 2023 Enterprising Women of the Year Award Winner. The award is a once in a lifetime honor in recognition of her success in business and leadership. The Enterprising Women of the Year Awards is the Enterprising Women magazine’s annual celebration of the world’s top women entrepreneurs. She has been inducted into the category for businesses with $10 million in annual revenues and up to $25 million in annual revenues. She will be honored and will receive her award at the 21st Annual Enterprising Women of the Year Awards Celebration & Conference, May 21-23, 2023, at the Wyndham Grand in Clearwater Beach, Florida.
According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, there are a total of 12.3 million women-owned businesses in the US. There were only 402,000 women-owned businesses in 1972. Companies like SW showcase the perseverance of women in male dominated industries. Women led perspectives are necessary as the products SW has created are unrivaled by any other company in the industry. Without the ambition and innovation from Chou, SW would not have as prominent of an influence in the glove manufacturing industry. The National Association of Women Business Owners also reports that Women-owned businesses employ over 9.4 million workers. Personally, Chou has created more than 2,000 jobs world wide with her entrepreneurship. She maintains 6 factories in Asia while the parent company is based in California.
There is another important facet of being a woman owned business and that has to do with company morale. The Harris Poll reported that 71% of both men and women polled felt that having a woman in a leadership position makes them believe they too can achieve a leadership position. Many companies often speak about promoting diversity, but ones that support these claims with actual evidence showcase that equal opportunity is a principle and practice of the company. Lastly, According to a Harvard Business Review study, women are thought to be more effective in 84% of the qualities necessary for excellence in leadership roles. The fact that SW has withstood 39 years and continues to aspire for greater success is a testament to the strong women who have greatly influenced and continue to influence the company.