Today took the courage of an army, an army of heroic women who become forces of nature to made great strides for change, for the present of women today. Let’s take a moment to reflect on our progress towards gender equality and to honour the contributions women have made and are making around the world every day.
Most importantly, today is a celebration of respect, admiration and love towards women around the world for their social, economic, cultural and political achievements.
I am truly inspired by like-minded, strong women. Hearing their stories gives me strength and I’m eager to use our brand’s collections to display that strength!
A lot has been achieved, but much more remains to be done in the fight for gender equality. It’s time to change people views and actions, to recognize that the gender stereotypes and sexism we see and face every day are not okay.
My mother always told me that I could only be wronged as long as I didn’t do something about it. I realized that only when I started to act rather than analyze, things started to change. That is why we feel it is so important to confront sexism and discrimination that allow gender inequality to exist.
For International Women’s Day, we have teamed up with Alicia from 100 faces to do just that. Alicia is such an incredibly talented woman and I’m thrilled to work with her on this exciting project. She has helped me choose 6 women from diverse backgrounds that inspire greatness to be featured on our website and social media.The illustrations she created were used to adorn a beautiful earring from our new collection. Banglez was proud to showcase these women with a specific pair of earrings and equally thrilled to name the earrings after them!
“I used to feel awkward labeling myself an actor or an artist, maybe because of the reverence I held artists in, or maybe because I just didn’t feel like I’d earned that title yet… But now, thanks to time, struggle, triumph, there’s no title I wear more proudly. Art is love, humanity, and freedom expressed. Life without art would be empty. Art with artists is impossible. And now, perhaps more than ever, artists are helping to move our society forward. I wake up so proud to be even the smallest part of this unbelievable community who make their life’s work to “celebrate living”. Because there really is so much to celebrate.” – Helen, Actor, and Author from Toronto/New York
“The thought of anything bad happening to my mom makes me anxious. I worry that maybe she didn’t drive home safely from work…maybe she forgot to lock the front door – lots of irrational thoughts. I jokingly (not so jokingly) refer this as onset adult separation anxiety. She’s become aware of my anxiety (who wouldn’t after getting ‘you good?’ texts at 4 am). So when I text her now, she usually sends me something short and reassuring. Most recent one: no need for worries. All good here. You’ve still got me and my persistent prayers.” – Bridget, graphic & web designer, born in Uganda, grew up in Switzerland and now resides in Toronto.
When May divorced an irresponsible ex-husband and ran her own business in a suburb near Shanghai, people always rumoured about her private life. Past age 30, a woman in China expires in the eyes of her peers. Rather than treated with due respect, single mothers are commonly frowned upon. Fortunately for May, she came from a wealthy family, who supported her passion for conceptual art. She made the decision to move back to Vancouver, finally severing ties with a society which never granted her belonging. People in China neither understood her nor her art. Unlike most of Vancouver’s Chinese upper class, May never felt the need to show off her designer goods nor to buy into the ever-popular luxury lifestyle. Similarly, she didn’t share the other women’s obsessions with everlasting youth and shied away from widespread self-beautification techniques. She’s sought ways to establish her own business in a manner suitable for her son and her talent in fine art. At all times she has remained a humble and caring friend. It is this from which her beauty derives. “During the years I lived in China, people didn’t pay much attention to my talent or ability but rather gossiped about my private life, my marriage, and my age. I chose not to go with that flow. I’ve never regretted having my son, he’s the best thing that happened to me and I don’t need another man to support me because I’m strong myself.” – May, single mother/business owner from China now lives in Vancouver.
“When you march to the beat of your own drum and live in your truth, it makes others uncomfortable because they’re not living in theirs. People will always try to dim your light when they’re not shining in their own.” -Justina, Bartender/Musician from Brooklyn, New York
“I can give you a little run down on my background related to Toronto. My ethnic background is half Lebanese and half British. I am originally from the West Coast (Kelowna/Vancouver) and I moved here around six years ago to U of T. I don’t find I’ve really stuck to one “group” or “type” of people here and I actually find people in Toronto generally more approachable than people from Vancouver. But I know what you mean in terms of the different bubbles around Toronto. There are definitely so many different types of people here bubbled into different categories. When I was in middle school I dealt with a lot of bullying. I was picked on because of the way I looked. I didn’t have a lot of friends in my middle school and also didn’t feel like the kids who were there had the same ambitions as I did. For those reasons, I went away to a boarding school and became part of a community that was so kind and accepting towards everyone. Throughout high school, I started to gain confidence and become more comfortable in my own skin. Nowadays, none of the bullying I face ever fazes me and I know that I am a much stronger person because of it. I’m not someone who has always had it easy and I think that it is important for anyone who has dealt with being picked on or teased to know that things do get better so long as you remain strong and believe in yourself.” – Ciara, Lebanese blogger/ marketing and communication profession from Toronto
“I am a sensitive person. I feel really hard and feel easily. There’s this quote that I think about that best describes me. ‘It’s both a blessing and a curse to feel everything so deeply’. I think that’s the story of my life. The work I do, the life I live is centered around that. I feel guilty a lot…for not being supportive enough. I feel guilty when I lash out or get upset at someone. I think a lot; think about what I should have said or could have done. Sometimes I get so sad and I don’t even know why. There’s this from the huge injustices of the world to wondering about the slightest change in attitude of a loved one, I feel it all. It gets exhausting I must admit; but at the same time, I feel good feelings deeply, too. My friends mean the world to me. I don’t know who I would be without them. They contribute to my growth every day. They make me laugh and know me. It’s nice to feel known.” – Hanan, Somali-Canadian/model/counsellor/grad student from Toronto
What did you think?! Absolutely beautiful! Through purposeful collaborations like these, we can help women move forward and unleash their limitless potential. We’d like to sincerely thank these ladies for lending us their strength, story… and face!
In honour of these women and International Women’s Day, we will be donating 10% from each of these earrings sold to an organization called The Rexdale Women’s Centre. The Rexdale Women’s Centre is an “independent, not-for-profit, voluntary agency that serves high-need women and their families residing in the Greater Toronto Area.”
We can do little things every day, that remind the world of who we are and who we can be. This fight isn’t about being superior but equal, reminded by our great Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau when asked why it was so important for him to have a gender-balanced cabinet, he simply stated, “because it’s 2015” to make people realized that it’s time we accelerate gender parity.
We are so excited to launch this collection for international Women’s week and we hope you like it!
“I am from Britain and think it is right that as a woman I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decision-making of my country. I think it is right that socially I am afforded the same respect as men.” -Emma Watson