Care for people

as well as for the planet

For centuries, women have had to settle for secondary roles in society, despite representing half of the world’s population. The most that was conceded was the adage that “behind every great man there a great woman.” Rare were the times in history which women have been allowed to rise to front stage, breaking the dogmas that bound them to the shadows. To women were assigned second-grade feelings and attitudes such as intrigue, jealousy, envy, etc. In order to change this situation and perception, many women have fought tirelessly, and it is unquestioned that women today hold a place in society that was inconceivable until the early 20th century, when the first suffragettes began to make their voices heard. Since then, many achievements have unfolded. However, gender equality has not yet become an omnipresent reality. For example, a recent report from the International Labour Organization – ITO – shows how all over the world, women’s prospects in the workplace are still widely different from men’s, as it is womens' unemployment rate that is highest, and they are also the ones who resort the most to unpaid domestic labour. Another alarming piece of data that indicates the persistence of a culture that is discriminative of women lies in the high rates of feminicide in many countries, such as Brazil, where three women are murdered every single day. We could mention a wide array of other instances and cases to clarify just how gender inequality is still predominant worldwide, only differing in their higher or lower rates. However, through the inception of the HERA project, we sought primarily to emphasize the immense contributions that women have to share, based on their wisdom and solid preparation for dealing with the most adverse aspects of life. Developing a forum such as HERA, in which females will finally be protagonists, will aid humanity in regarding itself with a more holistic, comprehensive, and overall caring perspective, all of which are essentially female characteristics. Therefore, the starting point will be our experience and expertise with groups of female artisans spread throughout South America, Central America, Africa, Asia and Europe, and our objective is to conduct curatorship for the best content in terms of these aesthetic, social and environmental aspects, and bring them to HERA. Moreover, we will insist on sharing with the attendees the many stories and knowledge that permeate these objects, thereby adding them value and facilitating their acknowledgement. The items are most commonly produced by women who work double shifts and who find themselves in situations of extreme social vulnerability. Their handiwork is the result of overcoming great hardship, and can inspire all who come to appreciate it. The HERA initiative involves and envelops the decorative objects and the decoration itself that will be present in HERA. Each one of the pieces and each square meter that will embellish this enterprise will derive from the work of female artisans from all over the globe. These pieces of original art bring together aesthetics and ethics, as they will be created based on the criteria of fair trade in order to empower their creators, by offering them a worthy return, that will in turn enable them to improve their own lives. We present the New Luxury that will set the tone for the decorative content and services offered by HERA, where the social and environmental dimensions of each product are given the same importance as their aesthetic aspects. Aside from the management of the production chain and the information made available to the public who will see these pieces, we will also supervise the sustainability of the materials to be used in the decorative pieces. We will utilize raw materials from sustainable origin/handling, such as organic cotton, BCI (Better Cotton Initiative) cotton, recycled cotton, organic silk, golden grass, organic silk straw, fish skin, mushroom-based fabric, fruit-based materials (pineapple and orange), and other plant-based leathers like cork, among other innovative materials. The HERA project will be in full accordance with the 17 SGDs (Sustainable Development Goals) set by the United Nations. By setting ethics and aesthetics as the pillars of a production chain – lead by our groups of female artisans – that favors sustainable materials, HERA is sending a signal out to the world that it is possible to conduct a large-scale enterprise that cares for people as well as for the planet. Nina Almeida Braga

bring together aesthetics

and ethics

fair trade

sustainable materials

The Light of Women