Every year, International Women’s Days has a theme. For 2021 it’s #ChooseToChallenge. But the concept of this day and what it stands for means something different to everyone. Based on our experience, our values, and how we grew up, we all have a very personal perspective. We’ve reached out to a couple of people on Serai, and asked them what International Women’s Day means to them.
Bhavna Parasrampuria, Owner, India Craft Art
"We can achieve whatever we want to achieve in this world."
Can you tell us a little bit about your company and what you do?
Bhavna: "India Art Craft makes and sells handloom fabrics, home furnishings and home decor products such as bath-linens, table-linen, and laundry baskets, and grass baskets. We produce everything by hand and don’t use any kind of energy: the whole process is manual and does not pollute or harm the environment in any way.
Our weaving is done in an eco-friendly and sustainable way. It provides livelihoods to skilled artisans, who can work from their own homes. This enables them to be with their family and take care of their farms. By carrying on these craft traditions, which are passed on from generation to generation, they also generate an additional income to sustain themselves and their families."
"There are various traditional arts of weaving in India, maybe 100 or more, as each region has its own traditional fabric, and each community has its own traditional cloth, which is unique. When these traditional fabrics are adorned by them, are worn by them, it symbolises which community/region/caste the person belongs to."
How do you feel about being a woman in the apparel industry?
"Good. I think women have a very good sense of art, beauty, design, and colour. We are emotionally connected with the clothes we wear. We use textiles to beautify ourselves, our homes, our kids, and every member of our family. Women are best suited to be in the business of textiles as they have inborn instincts of design."
What advice would you give to women who want to start an apparel business of their own, or would like to work in the industry?
"Nothing is impossible. We can achieve whatever we want to achieve in this world. Whichever field you are in, work with integrity and honesty, and have empathy for every member of your team."
Do you have a role model, or someone that inspires you?
"I am my own role model. Many people inspire me. To name a few: Ratan Tata, Sudha Murthy, Indira Nooyi, and my mentor, Gopikrishna."
Lynda Ellis, Director, Continental Textiles Mcr Ltd
"Make your voice heard with empathy and respect."
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
Lynda: "It’s a celebration of women, and their strength, across the world. Gender equality in Continental Textiles, and our industry, has never been an issue. Women make up 75% of our workforce. Including myself, as Director, women hold many of the senior roles within our business."
Tell us about your female role models.
"My mum would be my biggest role model, bringing up two children in the 60s whilst coping with her own disability. A strong woman who would have loved to carry on working, but didn’t have the option. She inspired me to work hard, be true to myself, treat everyone as equals, and know there is always a way to find a solution."
What career advice do you have for women getting started in fashion/tech?
"I’d say hard work and determination. Make your voice heard with empathy and respect. Study and get qualifications, and gain as much experience as possible within all aspects of the industry, while working and learning from as many people and companies as you can. There is something to be gained from every experience, even if it clarifies your decision not to go in a certain direction."