Each year, International Women’s Day on 8th March marks a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, and a reminder for the continued fight towards gender equality.
To celebrate this year, Positive Luxury asked a range of influential women and men – from business leaders to digital influencers – to share their philosophy or advice to creating a better a future for all.
Caroline Barlerin, Head of Community Outreach & Philanthropy, Twitter
I stand on the shoulders of the trailblazers who have come before. I am a feminist in honor of my grandmother who drove ambulances for the underground during WWII; my mother who graduated from business school in 1970 as one of very few women; and my daughter who I want to grow up able to unlock her unlimited potential.
Jonathan Passavant and Benjamin Lee, Founders of Passavant and Lee
It’s clear to us that if we want to see change in our world, we must start with empowering women. Women are the greatest change agents in any society, and as we fight for their equality and flourishing, every facet of our culture will reap the benefits.
Ruth Faulkner, Editor, Retail Jeweller
For me, feminism it isn’t a concept, but more a way of being. I think all too often society and the media paints feminism as something that it is not. It is about self-determination and believing you can achieve anything. Every woman has the right to become the best version of herself and do whatever she needs to do to get there.
Marie Kondo, Author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
I’ve often found that women are ascribed character traits based on whether they are tidy or not. For example, some individuals are quick to call women who are not tidy ‘lazy.’ However, the same does not apply to men. We need to reflect on our inherent biases and support one another’s growth across gender lines.
Marc Peridis, Founder, 19 Greek Street Gallery
Much of the most provocative and evolutionary work our gallery has ever presented has been designed by women, most of whom have demonstrated a deeply creative, intelligent and intuitive understanding of the world’s issues and how to address them. It is a “no-brainer”. Until we have empowered women, balance and harmony can never be achieved and humanity can not fully thrive.
Rosie Fortescue, Fashion Blogger and Jewellery Designer
Women need to support each other always. True empowerment comes from the strength to support others!
Hassan Pierre, Co-Founder, Maison de Mode
I wouldn’t be able to do what I do if it weren’t for the women I work with. When thinking about the overall importance of supporting women and gender equality I believe Mark Twain said it best– “What would men be without women? Scarce, sir…mighty scarce.”
Lisa Franklin, Founder, Lisa Franklin Skincare
You can create opportunity if you are patient with the process and never give up. Remember you are gifted, so be ambitious, be determined, and above all else be yourself!
Paul Van Zyl, Founder, Maiyet
The empowerment of women has been a cornerstone of Maiyet’s social mission from inception. Societies in which women achieve their full potential are more prosperous, peaceful and productive. Just imagine the last 100 years of human history if women were in positions of leadership – and then try to think of a good reason why we wouldn’t ensure that they are in the future.
James Murray, Editor-in-Chief, Business Green
It will be impossible to deliver a sustainable global economy without considerably more progress in tackling gender inequality. From equal educational opportunity to childcare and beyond, there is an urgent need to deliver policies that allow us to tap all of humanity’s potential in tackling the existential challenge that climate change represents.
Judith Clegg, Founder of Innovation Agency, Takeout
We must tackle inequality and patriarchy at its root; with legislation. If we have patriarchs, we must have matriarchs too.
Sass Brown, Founding Dean, Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation
Sometimes it takes a state of political and social turmoil for us to be reminded of the importance of each and every one of us standing up for what is right, for women’s rights and for human rights.
Jasmine Hemsley, Wellbeing Expert, Author and Cook
I love how female empowerment is moving towards embracing femininity and softness as well as power and strength. The belief that equality, especially in business, is about only showing a hard, masculine side is changing. Let both men and women be able to demonstrate the many aspects of their personality and not be dictated by stereotypes.
Alkis Tsikardonis, Corporate Responsibility Manager, Harrods
More than half the world’s potential is held in the hands of women. However, and despite significant progress over the past decades, this potential is not accurately reflected in society. On International Women’s Day, it is good for all of us to reflect on the long way we need to walk to achieve true equality, in the workplace and beyond, to help create a better society.
Misha Pinkhasov, Author of Real Luxury
I can’t believe we’re still asked to explain the importance of gender equality in 2017. That said, I’m not a feminist; I’m a post-feminist. I don’t think equality means uniformity and I think men are an awful benchmark for parity. It’s high time we started talking about individuals, not categories.
Paulina Burbano de Lara, President of Metropolitan Touring
For me, a woman’s professional success comes when she fully believes that she has chosen the path she wishes to follow. It is not a question of opportunity but rather a life decision and, as such, requires sacrifice, work and concrete plans. Anyone with that kind of determination is unstoppable.
Petra de Castro, Artistic Director Visual Communication, Patek Philippe SA
Saying ‘No’ is probably the most difficult word for a woman to say, as she has traditionally been educated to please. As a mother of three girls, it was quite clear to me that an honest, open, encouraging education would allow them to stand up for themselves and learn to say ‘No’ whatever situation they might encounter in their lives. To say ‘No, I don’t want this’ is half the battle of knowing what you want.
Georgina Townsley, Film Producer
It’s 2017 and women are still needing to fight for equality! Women and men need to work together equally, for balance and harmony, for all beings and the world.
Stephen Webster, Founder, Stephen Webster Jewellery
Having been married to a Russian woman for the best part of twenty years, International Women’s Day has been cause for celebration in our house since day one. My business and my family (two daughters) are dominated by women. Thank god for that!
Nishanth Chopra, Founder of Oshadi
At Oshadi, It is fundamental to our core purpose that we work with traditional women artisans to create clothes for modern women; empowering both the making and the consuming women’s faculties, and to express them according to their own choice.
Marisol Mosquera, Founder, Aracari
I found my way around the hurdles imposed on women in society by using creativity, and designing a life for myself that afforded me freedom and flexibility. That required colossal will. Many women who want both motherhood and a fulfilling career find it hard because society is organised following male structures. I think the only way to achieve gender equality is to forcefully introduce female organisational structures. That way women will thrive in all roles without having to fight to break barriers.
Hanli Prinsloo, Founder, I Am Water Foundation
The strength of women is like that of water – soft and powerful at once. The same substance you sink into with a sigh of relief after a long day can destroy whole cities and coastlines. Never believe you have to be hard to be strong.
If you enjoyed this, you might like to read The Importance of Supporting Women: Be Bold for Change or Brands that Care: Supporting Women and Girls.