International Women's Day | Women in Cashmere Mongolia
The 8th March is International Women’s Day. It’s a day to celebrate womanhood no matter where or how we live. It’s also a day to remind ourselves of ongoing gender issues in today’s vast and complicated societies, as well as being a day to encourage better equality and autonomy for women all over the world. To celebrate in my own way, I want to tell you a little bit about the women who work and thrive in the cashmere sector and there’s no better place to start than in Mongolia, where women make up 90% of the country’s cashmere workforce.
I think it’s really important to understand that gender in all respects is a huge topic to talk about and I would be silly to try and cram everything into just one blog post. Instead, I want to give you a brief introduction to just some of the ways that women work in herding and manufacturing, and show how they balance centurial traditions in the context of modern Mongolia.
Women play a vital role in cashmere herding and both men and women share the majority of the daily tasks. Unlike some other rural cultures, where gender plays a significant role in the allocation of specific jobs, rural Mongolian women’s roles have progressed over the years and they have become significant voices in the sale of fibre, selective breeding, feeding and maintaining herds, as well as domestic duties.
When I met some of the ladies who herded cashmere goats I was immediately taken by their beautifully colourful traditional outfits and I wanted to take a moment to share a couple of photos I took of them at an event they attended, hosted by the Sustainable Fibre Alliance.