This year, International Women’s Day feels particularly poignant. Perhaps it’s because of #MeToo, perhaps it’s because of Times Up, perhaps it’s because of the 100-year anniversary of the Representation of the People Act. Whatever the reason, it’s no bad time to reflect on what it means to be a woman.
And while these are important conversations, they only make up a small fragment of what it really means to be a woman on planet Earth in 2018. Some of us are much luckier than others. Think of the millions of women who live in war-torn countries, displaced by fighting and famine. It’s women like this who NET-A-PORTER is hoping to help in its latest collaboration with Women for Women International. The fashion favourite and this incredible organisation have tapped six designers – Stella McCartney, Ganni, Off-White, Bella Freud, Rosie Assoulin and Chloé – to design special edition T-shirts.
All proceeds from the sales of the T-shirts will go towards helping women in countries like Afghanistan, Rwanda and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, where Women for Women International give hands-on assistance to women. They train them up, give them skills like tailoring, bread-making or poultry-keeping, and introduce them to other women to form a support network. These networks are life-changing not just for these women but for their families and the communities they live in. After all, when groups of women come together, good things tend to happen.
To celebrate this collaboration, we spoke to five amazing women who are using their own strengths and networks to help other women in 2018. We have Amika George, the 18-year-old schoolgirl fighting to end period poverty, Women Who founder and career guru, Otegha Uwagba, alongside two of Refinery29’s leading lights, Gillian Orr and Sarah Raphael, and Women for Women International’s very own executive director, Brita Fernandez Schmidt. Prepare to be inspired.