"There's no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish."
― Michelle Obama
It's International Women's Day! Today, we honor the girls who run the world as well as encourage the determination to make way for even more to rise and conquer. As we stand together calling out for gender parity, we look forward to another year of progress and accomplishments. Here at Sui, we do believe every day is one to celebrate women but, of course, we wanted to highlight just how important it is today so we can work towards a better future for everyone.
So, let's look at what today means and why it's important, especially to us.
What is International Women's Day?
Celebrated annually on March 8th, IWD has occurred for over a century with the earliest gathering being in 1911. It's a day that knows no borders, spreading across the world, that simply wants to celebrate "the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women" and strive for equality.
Each year, IWD has grown in strength and, today, it is recognized as an official holiday by many countries all over the world, from Armenia and Georgia to Guinea-Bissau, Vietnam, and more! Although we have come a long way since IWD's inception with better inclusion of women in the workplace, legislative rights and so on, there are still disparities and discriminations that exist all over the world in various forms that need to be addressed.
So, we celebrate today to continue striving for better and the theme this year is #EqualforEqual. In their words, "An equal world is an enabled world. How will you help forge a gender-equal world? Celebrate women's achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality."
Why Sui loves celebrating women?
It's no secret that our core Sui team is a force of women doing their best to bring you sustainably crafted garments, and it's also no surprise since our roots were born out of female leadership and determination. Narinder Mohan founded Sue Mue in 1968. At the time, she wanted to share her love of hand-crafting dresses, something that she had always done for her young daughters. It was then taken over by one of those daughters, Mohita Gujral, who still leads the brand today. Mohita's love of fashion and beautifully crafted clothing was then passed on to her own daughter, Mahima Gujral, our own green founder, and it was only inevitable that Sui was born in 2018.
Another important reason this day is so important to us is that we are based in India and work in the garment sector, a region and industry that has for a very long time devalued women's contributions in the workforce. Women's participation is an especially challenging issue for our fellow countrywomen face. In a study that particularly looked at Indian women in the garment sector, it was found that in 2015-16, working-age women in paid jobs made up of 27% of the workforce. In rural India, the statistics are far worse with women's contribution to agricultural work particularly being almost invisible. In our home base, Delhi, a 2018 report found the statistic to be only 13%.
Looking further at the garment industry, there has been a shift from mainly male workers to female workers. Between 2013 and 2018, this resulted in women employees increasing by 15%, in Gujarat, the rate was double, but unfortunately, these women are paid lower.
How do we uplift our fellow women?
Joining hands with those who uplift our fellow women has been a key objective for us in our mission, to develop a community that wants better for each other. So far, we are proud to currently partner with two establishments close to our hearts.
WomenWeave, an NGO based in Maheshwar, supports their community of women, often underprivileged and disenfranchised, by both teaching them hand-looming and handweaving skills. They then give them opportunities to participate in projects to help sell their crafts. In 2018, we began collaborating to create our 'Wildflowers and Weaves' collection and then they remained with us to create handspun and handwoven organic cotton fabric that has been used across many collections after.
Pins and Needles is an NGO based in Delhi and we first partnered with them for our summer 2019 edit, 'Granita', and have continued our wonderful relationship until now. Their good work consists of supporting underprivileged, often migrant women, residing here. They teach them skills, in this case, hand-embroidery, which then gives them the opportunity to work for themselves as well as provide for themselves and their families.
Their stories and work are incredibly important to us and we are grateful for these organizations to exist. We have always loved visiting WomenWeave in Maheshwar and Pins and Needles here to see each weaver and embroider take pride and joy in their work while also enjoying being in their workspace with their work families. With our own team being made up of mostly women, we see the absolute need to help, support, and encourage better systems where we can all create, innovate, and thrive. These NGOs' efforts to provide livable wages, safe environments and close, supportive communities is everything we want for any woman working in our industry and beyond.
Being able to encourage others and work with communities that hold this purpose close to their hearts has done nothing but made us want to do even more, and because you support us in our journey, know that you are also supporting these women's voices.
We hope you have a wonderful day celebrating the women around you!