Women are the driving force behind the apparel industry and our brand. Just as the majority of our customers and employees are women, so are most of the people making our clothes. Yet around the world, women have less access to education, earn less money and are more at risk of violence. It doesn’t have to be this way. When women are educated, healthy, and economically empowered, families and communities can thrive. For two weeks in 2016, our colleagues in C&A stores, offices and C&A Foundation celebrated women who have had an important influence on their lives.
“In Brazil we have this stereotype that women belong in the kitchen, staying home and looking after their children. Not chasing their dreams. When my mother lost my father, we couldn’t pay for our home and my mother became a bank teller. She worked harder and did better than anybody, but it still took her much longer than a man to become a manager.”
Valter Teixera, C&A Brazil
C&A is committed to improving the situation of women worldwide — in our own company, in our supply network and in communities around the world. Last year, 23,600 employees took part and raised more than €1 million for 53 charities. This year, we built on the success of our first Inspiring Women campaign and we:
Inspiring Women 2016 ran with a much more localised approach in Brazil, Mexico and our other sourcing countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Turkey and Vietnam. We wanted to see what would happen when we allowed regions to tailor a unique approach with their partners to their local markets.
In October 2016, C&A employees from Brazil, Mexico, and the sourcing countries came together over two weeks. We shared stories of the women who inspired us and linked up with 15 local charities, all working to improve the lives of women in our local communities. Stories were personal and heartfelt, spanning issues from education and domestic violence, to developing life skills and financial literacy.
Our mothers shape our lives
Nearly 16,000 C&A employees shared their stories and three-quarters chose their mother as the women who had taught them something important in their lives, followed by their grandmothers and daughters. Employees shared their stories, paying tribute to their inspiring woman: every story and selfie triggered a donation from C&A Foundation.
A new approach
In 2015 we rolled out Inspiring Women using a centralised approach. Although it worked well and we were proud of the results, the feedback we received suggested that allowing our regions to tailor the campaign would ensure it was even more relevant. This year we provided a framework to work from, with each region creating its own implementation strategy – and the results from 2016 are testament to the success of this method.
In 2017, we are continuing to celebrate women, helping them realise their potential and the hugely valuable contribution they make in our business and communities. Between 22 May and 2 June 2017, we asked everyone in C&A Europe and China to say "Thank you for teaching me something important" to an inspiring woman, share their story with colleagues, upload a photo and vote for a charity that helps women live safe and successful lives. Each action triggered a donation from C&A Foundation to their chosen NGO. More information can be found here: Inspiring Women 2017.
We want C&A colleagues to be proud of C&A and this campaign. We hope it contributes to their wellbeing and that of the communities they live in. We want them to be inspired by the power and potential of women, and to spread the message of what is possible when women are given the opportunity to succeed.