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There are lots of people doing magnificent things in the world right now. Countless, but there are a handful that stand out most poignantly for us at Sana Jardin right now. We have compiled a list of women doing remarkable things, people who inspire us daily. From flipping deep rooted male behaviours on their head and carving a new cultural narrative, to fighting for gender equality and fair representation, these are women with a purpose and their cause lights a fire of it’s own inside of us.
This lady is an absolute superwoman, and needs no introduction… she founded and leads the the anti rape culture movement ‘Everyone’s Invited’, which aims to combat sexual abuse and harrasment culture. She recently told Vogue.com
“Rape Culture is a pervasive and endemic issue. The attitudes and behaviour that create this culture were completely normalised, and in some cases glorified throughout my teenage years. This is a cultural problem that should be addressed at a cultural level - all behaviours, attitudes, structures, and experiences within rape culture are interlinked.”
Whether it’s feeling vulnerable after a wolf whistle, intimate photos being shared, or physical abuse - this movement has never been more important, or timely and we salute 22 year old Sara Soma for her fierce drive and bravery.
Soma uses social media as her platform for raising awareness and telling stories - powerful for its immediacy and accessibility, but raises the important point that it can be ‘a double-edged sword. Technology and social media in so many ways has exacerbated rape culture. Age-old behaviours are taken to terrifying new extremes, with intimate photos being shared on Google Drives without consent, while “lad chat” permeates group chats on Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook.’
We salute you.
The ultimate philanthropist, Jennifer Siebel Newsom has been supporting worthy causes for decades, from helping indigenous populations and creating business enterprise opportunities for women and more recently following a career in film and production, championing equal and fair representation, founding The Representation Project and producing a fascinating documentary film, ‘Miss Representation'.
“The media is selling the idea that girls’ and women’s value lies in their youth, beauty, and sexuality and not in their capacity as leaders. Boys learn that their success is tied to dominance, power, and aggression. We must value people as whole human beings, not gendered stereotypes.”
We couldn’t agree more and highly recommend you watch ‘Miss Representation’.
Another shining light. Our Founder Amy was lucky enough to work for and alongside women’s right campaigner, barrister and writer, Cherie Blair at the Cherie Blair Foundation before she founded Sana Jardin. Much of Amy’s passion for improving the economic opportunities of women in Morocco is owed to her time spent at the Cherie Blair Foundation, who rightly believe women’s economic equality is non-negotiable.
Sadly, all over the world, women earn less than men, with less access to assets, property and financial services. ‘This doesn’t just limit their opportunities and livelihoods. It means half the world’s population is being denied basic human rights.’ Through entrepreneurship, the Cherie Blair foundation help women take control of their lives and create a route towards financial independence.
Cherie’s work improving opportunities for women in developing and emerging countries is truly inspiring - an ambassador for female entrepreneurs around the world.
With shared roots in Morocco, we couldn’t not mention the modern day wonder woman that is Maryam Montague - humanitarian, designer, artist, hotelier. Her non-profit Project Soar works to empower underprivileged teenage girls in Morocco and more recently Uganda, ensuring they are crystal clear on their Value, Voice, Body, Rights and Path - set up for a life of opportunity. The project received a very exciting visit from the previous First Lady, Michelle Obama, and was featured in her film, We Will Rise.
Maryam’s humanitarian work starts before Project Soar though - she has worked to support artisans in far flung corners of the world, hosting ‘Design led safaris’ for global brands including Tory Burch and Martha Stewart.
We are in awe of multi-hyphenate Maryam and all the she continues to achieve.
We could go on talking about the wonderful women we admire until the cows come home, but we had to end with someone who is both a friend and a colleague. Rebecca Van Bergen is the founder of non-profit, Nest - whose mission is to build a new handworker economy, to increase global workforce inclusivity, improve women’s wellbeing beyond factories, and preserve important cultural traditions around the world. Without them, our Beyond Sustainability Movement would not be what it is today.
Rebecca grew up with grandmothers who were hand workers - a quilter and a seamstress so had always been drawn to craftsmanship. ‘Following her passion to turn craft, the second largest employer of women globally, into a means to correct the gender and income imbalance in our world, Rebecca founded Nest at age 24’. 11 years later and she has supported countless women on programmes around the world.
Rebecca and Nest were fundamental in the set up of our own social impact project, the Beyond Sustainability Movement. They helped Sana Jardin establish our women’s co-operative, Annamaa, teaching new skills to the female flower harvesters who pick the Orange Blossom, Rose and Jasmine found in our scents.