The Role of Women in the Cashmere Industry

The Role of Women in the Cashmere Industry


Celebrate International Women's Day by stepping into the captivating realm of the Mongolian Cashmere Industry! This day is so important to celebrate because women all around the world have, and continue to contribute to the betterment of our world. One of the reasons we find the Mongolian Cashmere Industry so fascinating is because women have such a prominent role in the entire supply chain! Traditionally, Mongolian society has held women in high regard, often portraying them as symbols of strength and resilience. This cultural ethos finds expression in the realm of cashmere production, where women play multifaceted roles, from tending to the herds of cashmere goats on the vast Mongolian plains to meticulously refining and crafting this exquisite fibre into the coveted garments you’ve come to love! Let’s explore some of the many ways women contribute to this industry!

A Crucial Role in Herding 

At the heart of the cashmere industry lie the nomadic herders, women tend to the cashmere goats with unwavering dedication. In a herding family, women often take the same animal husbandry roles as the men. These women possess an incredible understanding of the land and its animals, passed down through generations, which is instrumental in ensuring the sustainability and welfare of the herds. Enduring harsh weather conditions and vast distances, they navigate the rugged terrain with skill and grace, embodying the spirit of resilience that characterizes Mongolia's nomadic culture. Since 2021, there has been a push to increase the representation of women leadership in herding communities. The Sustainable Fibre Alliance, alongside a partnership with J. Crew has been offering an Empowerment Programme to educate and assist women in growing their businesses within the communities they live. 

From Herding to Manufacturing

As the Cashmere is harvested and processed, women’s involvement doesn’t stop! Many women artisans and designers have emerged as key players in the value chain, infusing their unique creativity and vision into the final products. From traditional shawls and scarves to contemporary knitwear and haute couture, their designs showcase the rich cultural heritage of Mongolia while embracing innovation and modernity. In the Cashmere Clothing Industry, there is a gender fluidity in the roles people take. Women and men alike are not confined to specific roles, and are able to take leading positions. One great example of this is with our current partner, Goyol Cashmere. Founded by Ariunaa Byambakhuu in 2005, her company has grown from 5 employees to over 100! Over 80% of her workforce is women. It is so heartening to see that women in Mongolia can not only contribute, but lead in the Cashmere Industry! 

Things to Reflect On

As we mark International Women's Day, it's imperative to recognize that the journey towards gender equality is far from over. This day serves as a reminder of the progress we've made, but also as a call to action for continued efforts in creating a fair and just society for all. It's not merely about token gestures or superficial changes; it's about deep-rooted transformation that spans generations. Today, we reflect on the strides made in Mongolia and worldwide, but also acknowledge the work that still lies ahead. At Yavar, we take pride in being woman-led and owned, embodying the spirit of empowerment and equality every day.

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