Internation Women's Day | 2020 | Ralph Lauren

ALL TOGETHER NOW

SCROLL DOWN

ALL TOGETHER NOW

A look back at the legacy of female empowerment at Ralph Lauren—
and our pledge for the future.
 

The year was 1971. Second-wave feminism swept across the United States, redefining the vision of the American dream. The Supreme Court had just legalized birth control and had begun banning gender discrimination across the country. Still, the fight for equal rights was far from over. At the time, women could not apply for a credit card, and employers could still legally fire a woman for being pregnant. The embattled Equal Rights Amendment drew both criticism and celebration from women around the world—as it still does today.

Amid this time of great change for American women, a rising brand—Ralph Lauren—celebrated the launch of its first womenswear collection. A simple array of button-downs emblazoned with a Polo Pony was soon followed by tweed power suits, trench coats, pleated wide-leg pants, and blazers—essentially, menswear tailor-made for powerful women.

 

Acclaimed for their progressive sensibility, Ralph Lauren’s designs reflected women’s changing roles in America and their rise into positions of power. Behind the scenes, the same sense of empowerment and equality set the tone for the company. At the helm was a team of strong women—among them Buffy Birrittella, Mary Randolph Carter, Sandy Carlson Tarlow, Cybil Powers, and Beth Lauren.. “It was us and Ralph. Women and men, working side by side in the trenches together to build a common dream,” says Beth Lauren, vice president and creative director of luxury accessories. Adding, “It wasn’t about hiring men versus women; Ralph was always about the best person for the job.”

Nearly 50 years later, Ralph Lauren continues to support and empower women by applying the same egalitarian spirit to our hiring practices. In the first two weeks of his tenure, Ralph Lauren President and CEO Patrice Louvet committed to becoming a founding member of the ParityPledge—an initiative led by a nonprofit focused on bringing gender parity to the highest levels of business. The pledge commits the company to increasing representation of qualified women in leadership positions. In taking concrete steps to support gender parity, our commitment includes interviewing at least one qualified female candidate for every open role at the vice president level or above. “We are committed to creating a diverse environment where everyone can thrive and deliver their best, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or background,” says Roseann Lynch, chief people officer. “That commitment includes recruiting and retaining talented, qualified women at every level of our business. We are proud to share that we have achieved our gender parity goal, ahead of 2023, with equal representation in our leadership positions at the vice president level and above.”

To celebrate International Women’s Day—and encourage more gender parity in our own industry—we interviewed Ralph Lauren employees on how they are working together to create a more equitable future for everyone. See what they had to say below, and join us as we continue to champion gender parity by taking the ParityPledge at Parity.org.

Katie Ioanilli

“Gender equality is not a women’s issue. Everyone has to be part of our movement to create a more equitable society.”


Katie Ioanilli, Senior Vice President, Global Corporate Communications and Public Affairs

“We need an equal world because the future depends on it.”


Gabriela Calderon, Director, Diversity & Inclusion

Gabriela Calderon

“We need an equal world because the future depends on it.”


Gabriela Calderon, Director, Diversity & Inclusion

Jenna Chung

“Empowerment means challenging the status quo to stand up for what you believe in – personally and professionally.”


Jenna Chung, Senior Director, Pureplay

“A person’s place or identity should not be defined by gender. We are all a sum of our parts and an equitable future means each of us has the power to define ourselves and our roles in society.”


Aru Kulkarni, Brand President, Chaps

Aru Kulkarni

“A person’s place or identity should not be defined by gender. We are all a sum of our parts and an equitable future means each of us has the power to define ourselves and our roles in society.”


Aru Kulkarni, Brand President, Chaps

Nelly Moudime

“Gender parity means that in every dream you should be able to see yourself.”


Nelly Moudime, Maitre d’ at the Polo Bar

“You’re given opportunities. You’re given chances, but I’m the one in control of my future.”


Brooke Allinson, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, Women’s Polo

Brooke Allinson

“You’re given opportunities. You’re given chances, but I’m the one in control of my future.”


Brooke Allinson, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, Women’s Polo

Nidia Fernandez Ramos

“Focus on great ideas – not the gender of the person who created them.”


Nidia Fernandez Ramos, Senior Director, Off Price Sales

“Never limit yourself. We can always imagine a better tomorrow.”


Valeria Juarez, Senior Vice President, E-commerce International

Valeria Juarez

“Never limit yourself. We can always imagine a better tomorrow.”


Valeria Juarez, Senior Vice President, E-commerce International

Christy Woodby

“Success is different for every woman. Only she can define what it looks like to her.”


Christy Woodby, Senior Director, Creative Operations

“I want to create a future that belongs to my daughter.”


Maurice Brown, Business Planning, Strategy and Inventory Management

Maurice Brown

“I want to create a future that belongs to my daughter.”


Maurice Brown, Business Planning, Strategy and Inventory Management

Beatrice Sichel

“Supporting women starts by empowering their voices.”


Beatrice Sichel, Senior Director, Marketing EMEA

“Behind every strong woman, there's a strong support system. We all need this and to be part of another’s to succeed.”


Iris Langlois-Meurinne, Chief Marketing Officer EMEA & LATAM

Iris Langlois-Meurinne

“Behind every strong woman, there's a strong support system. We all need this and to be part of another’s to succeed.”


Iris Langlois-Meurinne, Chief Marketing Officer EMEA & LATAM

John Wrazej

“We are focused on what matters – making sure we’re creating opportunities for everyone on our teams.”


John Wrazej, Executive Vice President, Creative Director – Polo Brands & Purple Label

Kendall L. Green is a director of copy at Ralph Lauren.