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Ralph Lauren wants more women in leadership roles – and this is how he’s going to do it

As the head of a luxury fashion house, the designer knows a thing or two about business.

Ralph Lauren women in workforce

Women now have a better chance than ever of landing leadership roles at luxury fashion house Ralph Lauren. The US brand is aiming to get more women in management positions globally by 2025.

Ralph Lauren began a partnership with the Asian University for Women in FY19 to promote education throughout Asian and Middle Eastern communities, with the goal of increasing female representation in factory management by 25%.

“Be anything you want to be. And be many things,” Ralph Lauren says.

Currently, women hold 53% of senior director and above positions in the company’s global workforce, according to Ralph Lauren’s 2019 ‘Global Citizenship and Sustainability’ report. Females represent 64% of global employees, up 2% on FY17.

Ralph Lauren wants more women in leadership
Ralph and Ricky Lauren. Image: Ralph Lauren.

To meet the goals, the company will put forward at least one qualified candidate for every job opportunity.

The fashion house also announced the launch of a partnership with HERproject in FY20 – a chain empowering low-income women.

“We aim to positively impact 10,000 workers per year – reaching 40,000 workers by 2023 – through the HERhealth initiative, raising awareness of critical health topics such as healthy eating, personal and menstrual hygiene and maternal health,” the report stated.

And there’s good news for aspiring designers. The company will hire more than 55 interns to work across 11 Ralph Lauren sites next financial year.

“Be anything you want to be. And be many things,” – Ralph Lauren

While boosting women in leadership is an important goal for the luxury empire, sustainability is also an important focus. Climate change, waste management, water stewardship, sustainable product design and packaging, chemical use and raw material sourcing and traceability were noted as priority material issues for FY20.

“Delivering the next 50 years for Ralph Lauren means rethinking our impact on the environment and society and utilising creativity, the power of design, and innovative technologies to drive this change,” the reports states. “Although we are at the beginning of this journey, the values and purpose that have defined our business for half a century underline the authenticity of our commitment.”

Ralph Lauren wants more women in leadership

By 2020, the company hopes to have conducted annual sustainability training with all its design, product development and merchant teams. Donating unused materials instead of sending them to landfill, sourcing only sustainable cotton, using only polyester recycled from plastic bottles, and animal-derived products including wool, leather and cashmere sourced from certified or traceable companies are some of the pledged goals to the luxury fashion brand.

“Ralph Lauren commits to using 170 million recycled plastic bottles in our products and packaging by 2025,” Chief Innovation Officer David Lauren says. “Plastic waste is a major issue threatening the environment – we want to be part of the solution and utilise an innovative approach to create something valuable.”

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