Being a woman trying to balance whatever the constellation of life’s responsibilities you’re managing at any given moment — whether that be work, friends, or family, or even making time for Netflix binging (I’m coming for you Claire Underwood, I promise) — can bring its own set of challenges. Being a woman in a country affected by war, where women and children are most often disproportionately affected by the aftermath of conflict is a reality many of us choose to not even spend much time contemplating, let alone beginning to fathom what day to day life can look like for these women.
British skin care brand Elemis, known for their award-winning skincare products like their Pro-Collagen line of balm and moisturizers, is helping to change that by partnering with Women for Women International and funding a class of 25 women in Afghanistan through a year-long program.
Though the name might make you think of Portlandia’s fictionalized feminist bookstore Women and Women First initially, Women for Women International was actually founded 23 years ago in 1993 by the incredible 23 year old Iraqi-American Zainab Salbi. Seeing this organization partnering with an amazing skincare brand like Elemis brings two of my passions together. I had the opportunity at my Master’s degree commencement to hear Zainab Salbi speak and hearing her story and the organization’s work has stayed with me for nearly a decade.
Women for Women International works in 8 conflict areas around the world to providing “comprehensive programs addressing the social and economic empowerment of marginalized women”. What this looks like for the program Elemis is sponsoring is 12 months of a living stipend to allow women to pay for necessities of life while receiving specific education around new skills to earn an income that will enable her to help support her family. Women in the program are also able to build connections and friendship with other women who likely have experienced the same traumas caused by conflict that are so rarely spoken about amongst others with shared experiences.
Elemis is also launching a limited edition Supersize Pro-collagen marine cream ultra-rich anti-wrinkle day cream to allow their customers to take part of their work with Women for Women International. If learning about the work of Women to Women International and the support Elemis is providing is not enough to feel inspired, the 100 mL size moisturizer, twice that of the normal cream, is engraved with the phrase “She Inspires Me” around the edges of the lid. Whether in the small, mundane moment of a woman being able to provide a meal for her child or the woman running an international NGO helping make that moment possible for thousands of other women, what is clear through this partnership is the reminder that our connection and responsibility to one another is undeniable.