What makes 2020 “The Year of the Woman?” Is it the incremental gains made by women in many countries around the world? In the United States, is it the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, the galvanization of women to march in 2017, the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment a week ago, and more women in leadership roles closing the gap? Or, are we simply hopeful for a future of emancipation, freedom, and equality for all people around the world through businesses who are committed to progress? The future of business is solution-based and purpose-driven with a virtuous supply-chain that demonstrates we can not only be the best in the world, but the best for the world and Sudara is thrilled to lead the way.
As thought leaders in ethical fashion, conscious consumerism, and a virtuous supply chain, Sudara steps into 2020 empowered, enlightened, and ready to take the next steps forward to help more women up and out of the risk of sexual slavery. At Sudara, our mission drives our business, and our resolve is stronger than ever.
According to Gary Burnison, CEO of Korn Ferry, “Purpose is the number one driver of any business – defining the ‘why’ of the organization. Companies that ignore this do so at their peril.” We couldn’t agree more. The women and children of India are the “why,” and after a fifteen-year journey to support the emancipation of women in India from sexual slavery and the freedom to control their livelihoods with sustainable pay for their families, Sudara renews its commitment to help more women in this extraordinary year.
In 2020, we celebrate the year of the woman and the 100th anniversary of empowering more than half the citizens of the United States of America with a voice. From that first utterance for suffrage in 1848 in Seneca Falls to the adoption of suffrage in 1919, a seventy-year fight for women’s suffrage raged in the United States. Alice Paul, the leader of the National Woman’s Party in 1920, refused to stop at the ballot; equality was the next step.
Progress is never linear. It can be two-steps forward and one-step-back. The Equal Rights Amendment, authored by Alice Paul in 1923, took an additional fifty years to pass the United States Congress. Ratification proved to be another step back. With thirty-eight states needed, the endeavor fell short. However, on January 15, 2020, Virginia became the thirty-eighth and final state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). ERA, another milestone in 2020 for American women, has strengthened our resolve at Sudara. We will not stop until all women are free and equal. We are more committed than ever to lift the voices of Indian women in the most marginalized communities.
Sudara believes in the empowerment of women. When they rise, they lift their families from poverty and despair, and their communities begin to thrive. Melinda Gates noted in her book Moment of Lift, “When we invest in women and girls, we are investing in the people who invest in everyone else.” Women are consensus builders, collaborators who believe that a rising tide lifts all boats. We saw this rise on the streets of America at the Women’s March 2020.
On January 18, 2020, we took to the streets three days after the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in Virginia. In our Sudara Punjammies, under the Women’s March theme, “Women Rising,” we lifted the voices of our sisters in India. Indeed, as American women, with all the challenges we face for our equality, our ability to rise has never looked so promising.
As we continue to celebrate 2020, Sudara deepens its commitment to lift more women from poverty with sustainable employment to allow their communities to thrive. Our deep impact company crafts comfortable, fashionable print pajamas and loungewear beloved by our customers, but the pants are merely a vehicle for emancipation. As we scale up, our mission remains steadfast, creating more opportunities for women with living-wage jobs, education, support, and healing to eradicate sexual slavery.
In this “Year of the Woman,” Sudara deepens its commitment to the most marginalized communities in the world today, offering women forced to make a living in the most unspeakable ways another option – to find freedom, liberation, and a community at our Sudara partner centers. But there is more work to do. Will you join us?