For the past three years, Dior has been providing education to thousands of young women all over the world through their Women@Dior mentorship program. This year, due to the unrelenting COVID-19 pandemic, they are working to grow and build upon the program with a partnership with UNESCO. The program, structured around four core values, works to build autonomy, inclusion, creativity and sustainability, and will help to grow the opportunities available to these women.
Their program has worked with women students from the best business, engineering, art and fashion schools across 20 countries. In the mentorship, they are partnered with employees from Dior who teach and guide them in an environment where they can gain invaluable experience. In their new partnership with UNESCO’s Global Education Coalition, the house be opening the Women@Dior program to 100 female students from Niger, Ghana, Tanzania, Jamaica, Pakistan, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.
“Dior is no stranger to controversy when it comes to the role of fashion in female empowerment,” noted Dior’s Director of Human Resources Emmanuelle Favre in a statement. “We are proud to have been in the front row for some of the most pivotal moments in women’s history. As new waves of feminism continue to break, we are determined to make a difference.”
The brand hopes that this new initiative will give disadvantaged female students the opportunity to receive a higher education focused on inclusion. The expansion of the program comes at a particularly critical time in light of the pandemic, which has jeopardized young women’s access to education all across the globe. With the new partnership, each of the 100 new students will receive mentorship from a Dior employee, be enrolled in a 10-month educational program (which is currently held online), and will then take part in the Dream For Change initiative, a local project which focuses on empowering young women.
Additionally, the program puts a heavy emphasis on the support of women in more authoritative roles in the fashion industry as leadership positions are still overwhelmingly male-dominated. A 2108 study noted that only 14 percent of fashion houses were led by women.
“Out of education comes freedom,” Dior’s Creative Director of Womenswear Maria Grazia Chiuri said. “For me, it seems essential to help young girls develop their self-confidence: the confidence to dare, to be independent and to do things. This initiative is more essential than ever in order to create the world of tomorrow.”