A day that has been commemorated for over 100 years, the importance of International Women’s Day can not be overstated.
IWD celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, but also serves as a reminder for the need to accelerate gender equality. "Gender equality is both a fundamental human right, and a solution to some of our greatest global challenges. But half of humanity is held back by the most widespread human rights abuse of our time..." explained United Nations' Secretary-General António Guterres, when outlining priorities for 2023 to the General Assembly.
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As we gear up to celebrate International Women’s Day tomorrow, we spoke with women who have paved the way in their respective industries. From revered designer Edeline Lee to ByRotation’s Eshita Kabra-Davies, Daisy Knatchbull founder of The Deck and Lady Amelia Windsor, we speak to the CEOs, founders and tastemakers across the fashion industry and adjacent fields who describe what IWD means to them and why it remains an important day to celebrate:
Why International Women’s Day still matters according to 13 powerful women in fashion:
"I think International Women's Day is important because we still have a ways to go before we fulfil our true potential. I feel the most empowered when I feel that I am pushing and striving to fulfil my own potential - as a designer, as a mother, as a friend, as a woman, as a human being. How wonderful would it be if everyone had the possibility and freedom to live with power, dignity and grace? And not have to automatically subscribe to an identity that has been laid out for you by history, society, the economy, or politics?" - Edeline Lee
Canadian-British designer Edeline Lee launched her eponymous label in 2014. Her work has been worn by the likes of the Princess of Wales, Gemma Chan, Taylor Swift and Ellie Goulding.
"International Women’s Day matters to me as I believe in celebrating that special superpower we have as women. Our challenges are different to those men face and so we're able to bring a unique perspective to the table. It's important to celebrate women not just on IWD but every day, and lift them up by providing opportunities to those who may not be presented with them. I believe men are very much part of this conversation too, our differences can be used as our strengths, and together we can pave the way for a world with equal opportunities for all." - Eshita Kabra-Davies
Eshita is the CEO & founder of award winning peer to peer rental app ByRotation
"International Women’s Day marks a moment - one day - where women step outside their normal lives and take some time to celebrate all that it means to be a woman. Motherhood, friendship, mentorship, business… The day that becomes more powerful every year. Just as we do as women. The amount of collaboration, support and friendship that happens is remarkable!" - Venetia Archer
Venetia is the founder & CEO of Ruuby, the digital beauty concierge app.
"IWD is always a time to remember how far women have come but yet how far there is still to go. This is a world where women are still the target of so much discrimination and violence and still have to fight to get their voices heard. Even though there is a specific day, it is of course every day." - Lady Amelia Windsor
Lady Amelia Windsor is an advocate for sustainability within the fashion industry.
"As a global dental expert, I am first and foremost a woman in business - and I launched my podcast Life & Smile to develop a growing voice and platform that I hope speaks directly and supports other women and entrepreneurs at all stages of their career no matter what industry they may be attached to. For IWD 2023 I aim to honour values such as inclusion, sharing, resilience, building long-lasting relationships with colleagues, learned mentors and other businesses - something I continue to find truly valuable." - Dr. Reena Wadia
Dr. Reena Wadia is the founder of Perio School, and is co-editor for the British Dental Journal, one of the leading scientific journals in the world.
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"This day enables us and reminds us to keep the conversation going and move ever further in the direction of gender equality. It’s not only about someone sitting in a privileged system who can afford to stand up, forge forward and express their opinions. Its women globally, where they have to fight to have their voices heard and often need our help. We live in a world that prioritises men. To get to an equal footing, we have to promote and encourage women as much as we can and amplify their voices. This is what International Women's Day is for. At Citizen Femme, we promote and amplify women’s voices and achievements on a daily basis. But globally, 8th March marks the day that we collectively admire the incredible women around us, their achievements and how far we as women have come, whilst calling out inequality, and really looking at how far we have to go." - Sheena Bhattessa
Sheena Bhattessa is the founder of Citizen Femme, a digital destination created for globetrotting women.
"As a female CEO and mother of three, International Women's Day is still very important to highlight the work that remains to be done for equity around the World. Right now we have an all female manager team at Bodyism and it feels very empowering in an industry that is historically male dominated. It's always so inspiring to see how the team is supporting each other. IWD is a great reminder to check that businesses are being progressive and committing to change - not just saying they will. I'm always trying to promote the team from within the company and evolve the roles as the employees evolve, such as offering flexible working for parents. It's also important to me to empower women within my friendship group as well as at work. We have mostly female members at Bodyism and I love to watch them getting stronger, healthier and more confident every day. But It’s also important to me that we are inclusive and empowering of everyone that needs to improve their health." - Nathalie Schyllert
Nathalie Schyllert is a former professional ballerina and the CEO of the Bodyism gym franchise.
"Living in London, we might feel like we've come leaps and bounds on this agenda, but when we think about other places in the world where women are not as privileged as we feel in the UK, the relevance of International Women's Day goes without saying in my opinion. From my perspective specifically, when I look ahead, I know that only 8.8% of Fortune 500 companies' CEOs are women, and I also know that there is still a huge disparity in the funding received by female founders vs male founded businesses. There's still work to be done to even out the gaps. On the positive side, I can say that I have been overwhelmed by the amount of support that I have received via dedicated female founder groups and support networks. The power of women supporting women is growing, and for me, IWD should be a celebration of this, and serve as a reminder to all women that supporting each other makes a difference." - Nina Briance
Nina Briance is the founder of Cult Mia, an ethical online global fashion platform which champions local independent designers.
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"International Women’s Day reminds us how women’s rights both progress and regress in different ways in different countries and that each year we need to celebrate the successes and what needs to be accomplished in the next year, for meaningful impact." - Daisy Knatchbull
Daisy Knatchbull is a trained tailor and founder of The Deck, Saville Row’s first ever female tailor.
"IWD is an important day to generate conversation, whilst pausing to reflect, and to celebrate, the achievements made by the women before us that allow us the freedoms we experience today. It allows a moment to appreciate how far we've come, and to recognise how far we have to go. I am proud to be a woman, to work with incredible women and I can't wait to soon raise a strong woman." - Hermione Bellm
Hermione Bellm is the founder of CEO Yourself, a platform which helps women everywhere to become the CEO of their own lives.
"I do believe every day is women’s day, but I think of International Women’s Day a bit like your birthday: you should appreciate yourself everyday, of course, but it’s very important to once a year stop to properly acknowledge what you’ve accomplished, celebrate and be celebrated. So for me there will always be a point in celebrating International Women’s Day and shining a light on all the amazing things women do." - Victoria Ceridono
Victoria an award winning beauty journalist, former Vogue editor and the founder & CEO of beauty brand Vic Beauté.
"International Women’s Day is about celebrating women everywhere. While you may not feel discrimination day to day, it's a day to stand up and represent women worldwide who are not in that same position. Amazing changes can happen when women come together and unite." - Misty Minton Barnett
Misty is a designer and the founder of luxury interiors brand Casa Carta.
"Women are strong and powerful, and IWD is a great reminder of how far we’ve come and how much further we have to go to reach gender equality. I believe in the power of female intuition, our inner strength and I know that by standing together with other strong women around us we are able to lift each other up, not just on IWD but every day." - Roxie Nafousi
Roxie is a Self Development Coach and a double Sunday Times Bestselling author of self-help books Manifest and Manifest: Dive Deeper.
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