Women Supporting Women through Nonprofit HERproject
Nordstrom has big plans for 2020—and beyond. We're highlighting brands who have partnered with HERproject, a nonprofit that's helped one million women working in the global supply chain, plus our own work with humanitarian organization CARE International.
By Jennifer McCullum
"We're all about women supporting women," says Rohini Barreto, director of supply chain sustainability at Ascena Retail Group, parent company of Lou & Grey. And it's not just talk. In 2014, the brand put that very mission to work when they partnered with HERproject, a nonprofit that provides women working in global fashion factories with the tools they need to succeed. Since then, the collaboration with Lou & Grey has helped more than 42,000 women in 35 factories across five different countries get access to health and financial education.
And they haven't stopped there. By the end of 2020, 100% of Lou & Grey clothing will be made in factories working with HERproject. This is a huge deal. "We made a commitment to empower women working in our global supply chain community by partnering with HERproject to give them access to health, nutrition and financial education," says Barreto. The company is working to identify factories making Lou & Grey clothing that haven't yet gone through the program, and Barreto estimates that their efforts to target and onboard these factories, combined with their HERproject work in 2019, could help 10,000 more women by the end of the year.
Since 2007, Nordstrom Product Group (NPG) has worked with HERproject to launch empowerment programs for women in 27 factories around the world. These trainings are focused on topics like health and financial literacy, as well as communication and leadership skills to help workers reach new opportunities both at work and in their personal lives. Now at the start of a new decade and looking toward a gender-equal future, Nordstrom is expanding on our goals as a company, working to ensure that by 2025, 90% of Nordstrom Made products, which include brands like Zella, Halogen and Treasure & Bond, will be produced in factories that invest in women's empowerment.
This year, Nordstrom will also join forces with CARE International in support of International Women's Day 2020. CARE's advocacy efforts aim to remove the root causes of poverty and offer women and girls more autonomy in their lives. In the hopes of advancing CARE's initiatives in the areas of economic empowerment, education and work, Nordstrom is offering a $25,000 grant to the organization, and will match $25,000 of additional donations made directly to CARE during our IWD campaign. "Partnering with CARE International is an extension of our commitment to human rights and women's empowerment," says Gigi Ganatra, vice president of Public Relations and Corporate Affairs at Nordstrom. "We support women working in global fashion supply chains through our ongoing partnership with HERproject, and by working with CARE, we can help reach women and girls more broadly to find ways to break the cycle of poverty and create dignified work."
Championing women in the workplace has been a focus of designer Tory Burch for the last decade. With the formation of the Tory Burch Foundation in 2009, and since then becoming a partner with HERproject in 2017, Burch makes it clear that investing in women is good business. "At our company and at the Tory Burch Foundation, our mission has always been to empower women," she says. "HERproject is an important part of that. We are so proud to be part of this incredible initiative, which is making a difference for women working in our supply chain in China and Vietnam by providing them with training and helping to build their confidence. These women are a vital part of our business; they do incredible work and we are honored to be able to do something for them in return."
2019 also marked a new milestone for HERproject as cosmetics giant The Estée Lauder Companies became the first prestige beauty corporation to partner with the program, expanding into new territory beyond the apparel industry. HERproject has been brought to two of its packaging suppliers through a two-year program focused on peer-to-peer training and workplace interventions on health and gender equity. Within the first year, the program has already reached more than 1,500 women.
The work that HERproject is doing is important, and it's something that Nordstrom—and many of the brands we carry—believe in. HERproject has now reached one million women worldwide in the apparel and agricultural sector through these types of dedicated trainings and communication campaigns. Nordstrom looks forward to continuing this partnership to drive and enforce positive change in the fashion and beauty industries—and in these workers' lives.