March is Women's History Month. Women have played a vital role in historical events, and continue to form our modern society with innovations and a fight for equality. There are many ways to celebrate the women in your life and community this month, but you shouldn't stop learning and engaging with women's stories when March ends.
Refresh Your Knowledge on Women's Rights This March
Women's rights are the same fundamental human rights outlined by the United Nations. These rights include the right to live free from violence, free from slavery, and free from discrimination. Women always have the right to be educated, to own property, to vote, and to earn a fair and equal wage. While women and girls are entitled to all of these rights, many are still denied their rights because of their gender.
In 2016, the United Nations put out a report stating that girls are almost twice as likely to never start school. One of the worldwide Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 is to eliminate all gender disparities in education. Today, however, girls are still denied education for a number of reasons including stereotypes, family responsibilities, pregnancy, distance from the school, and lack of safety in conflict zones. The report concludes with recommendations to provide girls with quality education, including separate toilets from boys at school, allowing pregnant girls to continue attending school, eliminating violence against girls, and ensuring that all girls know that they are entitled to quality education.
Another Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) is ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns worldwide. This is incredibly important for both women in general and for the nearly 35 million women working in the fashion industry. The SDG places an emphasis on reducing material footprints around the globe through policies that create an environment ripe for change in infrastructure, markets, and business practices. Shops like Panareha approach their work using recycled materials to protect our planet’s natural resources.
Learn About Women in Fashion This March
There are many women in fashion who are working tirelessly to make the world a better place. Liz Claiborne, for example, began her fashion career creating athletic apparel for women. She insisted on creating clothing that was moderately priced. Claiborne then streamlined the consumer experience by showcasing her entire collection in a single department.
Coco Chanel also worked to liberate women. Her fashion creations eliminated restrictions from corsets and promoted chic and casual fashion which became standard for women following WWI. Chanel had to claw her way to the top with verve and enthusiasm because she was raised with few means and many siblings after she lost her mother when she was 12. Her energy, innovation, and ambition allowed Chanel to expand beyond just women's clothing and into jewelry, handbags, and fragrances, too.
And while you might look up to these women, you should always keep in mind that someone looks up to you, too. Rose Marie Bravo, the intrepid Vice Chairman at Burberry, says that because she saw women in action before her, she knew she could succeed. Bravo not only has a keen eye for trends in fashion, but she is also an adept businesswoman. She was inspired by the road map laid before her by the likes of Estée Lauder and Helena Rubinstein who showed Bravo that if she was smart enough and made the right decisions, she would succeed.
So, this Women's History Month, create your own road map. Be an educator, be a student, vote, make the world a better place, and set a precedent for the next generation of women who will look up to you this March, next March, and every month of the year.