Women speak out: Gabriela Hearst

GadjasNet is a project of CIRV, a collection of courageous men and women who work tirelessly in the fight for gender equality and who know first-hand what inequality looks like.

A growing number of women in business have begun openly speaking out about the lack of protections that help them thrive in their chosen careers, drawing attention to the rights of women and girls — especially as women of color. We take our cues from these women, and here at GadjasNet, we put great emphasis on the stories of women in all sectors, backgrounds, and locations.

Enter the latest member of our community: Gabriela Hearst. Hearst was born in Nicaragua and moved to New York City, where she met and fell in love with her husband, designer Kenneth Cole. Hearst’s life now includes regularly scheduled flights on big stages — such as the Democratic National Convention — and winning contests for a seat on a fashion council. Hearst’s is a life of hard work and ambition, with a little bit of adventure thrown in, which the GadjasNet community is proud to read about.

But, as many of you know, Hearst also has one other role: the president of her husband’s fashion house, including supervising the creative and design aspects of the label, which is valued at $1 billion. Hearst’s duties have increased as her husband’s business has boomed, but the balance between motherhood and career has proved difficult, particularly as her family has grown. In 2012, Hearst gave birth to her youngest child, and it was then that she made the decision to leave behind her highly successful career. Hearst subsequently launched the organization Safe Workplaces New York, which promotes safety and equality at work, and which works to prevent the killing of women and girls in the workplace. The organization holds seminars around the country on gender equality in the workplace, and connects women to experts and resources to help them improve their odds of success.

Safe Workplaces New York is one of the eight organizations in the GadjasNet alliance, which aims to unite eight reasons why women must be at the forefront of economic and political change.

Given her background as an activist for gender equality, it’s no surprise that Hearst is concerned about the status of women. Among other things, she believes that people should not be fired for being pregnant, nor should they be left unemployed because they are pregnant.

We want Hearst’s voice to stand out in a community of women who believe that women should be recognized as equals with men in their place of work. And for her to be the face of a movement to make real change.

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