Like every year, International Women’s Day was celebrated globally with great enthusiasm and passion this time around as well. Textile and apparel industry, where women play an integral role, also showed the same inspiration. Of course, women safety, equality and recognition were highly talked about and highlighted, and social media ensured it all was heard loud and clear.
Women’s Day has a long history and deep connection with textile industry, as it is believed that the day commemorates a protest by women garment workers in New York on 8 March 1857. Similarly, according to the Gregorian calendar, on 8 March 1917, in the capital of the Russian Empire, Petrograd, women textile workers began a demonstration and it marked the beginning of the February Revolution, which alongside the October Revolution made up the Russian Revolution.
This time, equality was a buzz word in celebrations, as all stakeholders of the textile and fashion industry focused on the same. #GenderEquality, #TrulyEqual, and #EachForEqual ruled the trend charts on social media. Gender equality is an explicit goal (SDG 5) in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and SDG is being focused by the entire supply chain of the textile industry.
Distribution of flowers and chocolates, cake cutting, get together in factories and offices were the most common celebration scenes across India. Various activities like rangoli making competition were also held in many facilities.
Leading Indian apparel exporter Laguna Clothing celebrated the day with engaging its women workers in some fun activities and organising lunch for them at the Group’s three locations – Bangalore, Kanakapura, and Ranchi.
Another topline textile and home furnishing company from India – Trident Ltd.’s various facilities and office campuses witnessed CSR visits, training, games, celebrations, flash mob and more in honour of women.
At the same time, several eminent retailers and brands too celebrated womanhood and how! H&M, for example, which takes pride in that fact that 7 out of 10 leaders at the company are women, highlighted their relevance and contributions through various videos to show them how much they matter to the Group’s growth.
“Being an employer of so many women, in an industry which contributes to important job opportunities for many, makes me very proud. Since global progress is slow, our commitment to continue to challenge inequalities and make gender equality possible is more important than ever. It should be the norm”, says Helena Helmersson, CEO, H&M Group.
UBC launched a digital film titled #UnitedByStories that why women are truly superheroes. Puma India celebrated the day with its Propah Lady campaign, aimed at giving women an expression to celebrate their individuality with utmost unapologetic attitude.
GAP teamed up with Rebecca Alexander and Hannah Corderman to create special GapFit Breathe tops. The retailer claims that the products feature the inspiring voice of Rebecca and the design of her friend, Hannah, both of whom were born with Usher Syndrome, a rare condition that will one day leave them blind and deaf. But instead of living their life in fear, the women persevere with a positive spirit and unyielding strength that allows them to be advocates for others with the condition.
It is also pertinent to mention here that the Gap P.A.C.E. (The Personal Advancement and Career Enhancement) programme, a flagship initiative for apparel factories, has now reached over 500,000 women and girls around the world, providing them with life skills education and training to help them succeed in their personal and professional lives.
JCPenney has gone a step ahead declaring March to be the month of women, and is saluting its female force with its unique campaign – Women’s History Month! From the company’s CEO Jill Soltau and SVP General Counsel Brandy Treadway, to its CIO Therace Risch and CMO Michelle Wlazlo, to the chief HR officer Brynn Evanson and SVP of Communications Brooke Buchanan – JCPenny boasts of an 80 per cent female workforce; 50 per cent being at the executive leadership level.
The North Face has enlisted an all-female team to design, manufacture and market its latest range. Led by women’s rights champion Oryana Awaisheh, the collection’s campaign is fronted by musician Jess Glynne as well as female athletes and explorers from Europe. The collection features a line of limited-edition T-shirts, made from technical fabric, and sporting the iconic IWD colours – green, purple and white.
Old Navy also launched graphic tee that says “she” on them in stores and online. It will also make a donation on behalf of six female employees who the company is recognising through its International Women’s (Every) Day campaign for inspiring their communities.
Reiterating the principle of being an inclusive workplace that provides equal opportunities and growth for all, Walmart India organised various sports and cultural activities across its offices and Best Price Stores.
Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd celebrated the day with #UnStereotype and asked people to share the most memorable instances of their lives where one has witnessed others breaking the gender stereotypes of society.
Myntra also presented in an awesome way and expressed that how its staff chose to fight stereotypes and break perceptions. “On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2020, we say a big NO to labels. We refuse to be stereotyped or boxed by anything which pulls us back,” the company highlighted in a video on its social media.
Coats, world’s leading industrial thread manufacturer, delightfully announced that its Bursa plant and Coats Turkey (having over 52 per cent women in the total workforce) have both been recognised with an award for their support of women in a workplace.