In 2009, French businessman François-Henri Pinault founded Kering Foundation as a response to violence against women across the globe. Ten years on and the luxury group behind Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent can look back at the progress that has already been made while plotting new means of continuing their work for the next decade.
As it stands, Kering’s initiatives stretch from the US and Mexico, to the United Kingdom, France, Italy, China and Japan, working on both regional and local levels to organise awareness campaigns, engage local residents, support existing NGO’s and initiate a dialogue on changing social customs and entrenched cultural attitudes. Internally, the Foundation aims at developing a blueprint model of a workplace environment that is supportive of survivors of domestic violence, ensuring an institutional safety net for company employees.
Elsewhere, Kering have thrown their weight behind high-profile initiatives, such as the White Ribbon For Women Campaign, which was first launched on November 25th 2012 as an annual awareness day for violence against women. With the help of well known industry faces it is currently in its 7th edition, with an online audience that has spiralled into the hundreds of millions. More recently, Kering’s Women in Motion Awards (launched in 2015) has partnered with Cannes Film Festival to highlight the role of women and promote female empowerment in the industry through a programme of talks and events.
Crucially, the organisation have placed significant emphasis on partnering with local NGO’s to ensure that co-constructed programmes are tailored to specific needs and remain as effective as they can be. In France for example, Kering work alongside La Maison des Femmes, an organisation that not only provide a sanctuary for vulnerable women but the medical and psychological help to ensure they are able to return to an independent life. Elsewhere, a partnership with the Hong Kong-based HER Fund gives grants to work with women from marginalised communities with limited opportunities.
The decade milestone is an opportunity for Kering to review the success of their work and establish novel ways of reaching new audiences. Last night at an event marking the anniversary, Mr Pinault, chairman and CEO of Kering, announced the organisations plan moving forward. Aimed at Generation Z (those born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s), Kering’s focus is shifting to support programmes that work to challenge harmful belief systems often propagated online, and readdress notions of masculinity that have for so long worked as an obstacle to Kering’s work.
“For the past ten years, we have contributed to weakening the taboo around violence against women by openly addressing it in our awareness campaigns, said Mr Pinault. “We have supported these women through the work of our partner organisations and our social entrepreneurs. We have united other companies around our cause, to build momentum. We can build on this experience for the future. We will continue the fight. I want the Kering Foundation to explore new fields of action. Prevention, for example, by raising awareness among men about violence against women. I also keep in mind the fate of the children, who are often direct or indirect victims of this violence.”
Below are three separate initiatives, all begun this year, specifically focused on engaging the next generation.
Project Dot: Dream-Own-Tell
This youth program run by the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault targets disenfranchised teens, often hailing from minority backgrounds including LGBTQ, Black, Latino, East, South-east and South Asian communities. Working between the ages of thirteen – twenty one, the project works with those who have little access to a formal sexual education and encourages them to take a leading role devising campaigns on issues of consent, domestic violence and healthy relationships.
Manhood 2.0: New York City
Working together with Promundo, a Brazilian-based NGO who promote caring, non-violent gender relations, Kering have introduced a youth programme in NYC to engage young men in the idea of what it means to be a man. By highlighting how conventional ideas surrounding masculinity are formed and how they can effect mental health, relationships and substance abuse, the programme offers an alternative to damaging cultural norms.
One of the seven recipients of the 2018 Kering Foundation Awards for social entrepreneurship, Chayn offers a brilliant example of a collaborative design; a community led, start-up consultancy, providing assistance, advice and help guides to victims of domestic abuse. Their Tech vs Abuse project explores the role of digital technologies in aiding women concerned about online privacy and cyberstalking, while online guides give advice on everything from helping survivors of domestic abuse being tracked to building your own domestic violence case without a lawyer. As well as providing financial backing to the organisation, the Kering Foundation will mentor the organisation on development and growth.
Find more information on the Kering Foundation here.