For male-owned mall moguls and mega-retailers, March represents the one month of the year to guise their websites in celebration of women, and the rest of us (if only for a mere moment) take pause to gush: maybe they really do care for us after all!
When we make our return from dreams of big box stores—windows plastered in championing catch phrases appearing to advocate for women and our rights—we’re met by a reality stark in contrast.
Consider, that in 2022, nearly 2.4 billion women globally don’t have the same economic rights as men (The World Bank, 2022).
And, over the course of this same year, more than 300 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were either passed or introduced in the U.S. (The Human Rights Campaign, 2022).
What’s more, is that on average women:
Meanwhile, women-owned businesses:
Imagine what might happen if this purchasing power was redirected to invest in female entrepreneurs on the rise, women-led businesses that value gender parity, and women-owned brands centering gender inclusivity and prioritizing people and planet above profits?
This Women’s History Month, we’re encouraging shoppers to use their purchasing power to support women’s history in the making by amplifying and shopping directly with women-owned brands.
We’ve teamed up with our friends at Women-Led Wednesday and We Are Women-Owned to share 5 actions you can take each Wednesday throughout the month of March to divest from mega-retailers and support women-owned brands instead.
Don’t worry, we promise this is not a crash course in Budgeting 101. Instead, it’s a suggestion to consider conducting a quick brand audit to identify with who you’re spending your hard earned dollar.
Before deciding whether it’s time to start directing more of your dollars to women-owned businesses, it’s likely helpful to first understand what businesses (and their owners), you’re currently supporting. Get started by peeking at the items under your kitchen sink, taking inventory of the products in your bathroom cabinet, or investigating inside your closet. Then, consider asking yourself:
As you learn more about the items you own, consider creating a list of recurring, routine products or purchases that might offer an opportunity for a women-owned, values-aligned alternative to take its place (more on this later!). In the meantime, get to know a few of the women-owned brands we think everyone should know about.
Wednesday, March 8th, is International Women’s Day, a day to recognize and celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women globally.
On this day, we take pause to consider that while structural and systemic barriers for female entrepreneurs persist, one report suggests that the imbalance in access to capital for women and minority-owned businesses represents up to $4 trillion in missed revenue. How’s that for an economic contribution?
As for the socio-economic and cultural contributions of women, the World Economic Forum reports that when women work, they invest 90% of their income back into their families and communities (compared to the 35% men invest). Furthermore, as women’s incomes rise, they become more likely to give to charity than their male counterparts.
What’s more, is that research has shown that organizations with more women in senior positions are not only more profitable, but also more socially responsible, and provide safer, higher-quality customer experiences (among other benefits). Research has also illustrated that companies that have women on their corporate boards are more focused on environmental, social, and governance issues than companies with no female board members.
So, this International Women’s Day (and every day), consider supporting one (of the many) women-owned businesses doing good for people and the planet.
Meanwhile, research reveals that women outscored men on 17 of the 19 capabilities that differentiate excellent leaders from an average or poor one, including capabilities like integrity, championing change, problem solving and analysis, and collaboration and teamwork (to name just a few).
Unfortunately, today, despite similar levels of education and experience, nearly two-thirds of men are confident they can start businesses, but less than half of women feel they have this capability. What’s more, only 1 in 13 women are looking at starting a business in the next five years, vs. 1 in 5 men. To make matters worse, for women who do pursue their own ventures:
All this to say: there’s no time like the present to support female entrepreneurs. From Gen Z founders inspiring a fashion movement that centers transparency, to one brand committed to ditching the pretentious coffee tasting notes– these impressive, female entrepreneurs on the rise simply don’t miss.
Women’s History Month reminds us of the critical importance of recognizing and celebrating the contributions of not just cis and hetero women, but all women, including LGBTQIA+ women, non-binary folks, and individuals with intersectional identities.
Amplifying and supporting gender inclusive and LGBTQIA+ owned brands during Women’s History Month is just one small act of resistance against harmful gender norms, trans-exclusionary feminist attacks, and hegemony which contribute to the creation and perpetuation of violence and oppression against the LGBTQIA+ community.
By consciously leveraging our purchasing power to support LGBTQIA+ owned brands and/or brands prioritizing gender inclusivity in their systems, designs, and practices, we reaffirm to these businesses, (and others), the importance of decisions and contributions that not only consider, but center, understand, and honor the experiences of folks of all gender identities. Today, and always, support brands going beyond the binary to imagine a more equitable, inclusive, and just world for us all.
What do Clinique mascara, Lulu Lemon yoga pants, and Dawn dish soap all have in common?
Well, for starters, they’re all male-owned mega-retailers. For another, while some of these businesses tout undeniable brand clout, others are simply more accessible (both physically and financially), and we’d be remiss not to acknowledge that for many, the question of where, how, and with who they shop, is a line of inquiry indisputably privileged in its nature.
Even for those privileged few who can and do entertain contemplations of who to support with their $, it’s not always easy, efficient, affordable, or convenient to do so. Just consider Times’ author, Alana Samuels, who attempted to live off of women-owned businesses exclusively, only to conclude that it turns out: men still run everything.Even still, we can't help but ask ourselves:
Perhaps, one way to start is by considering the routine items we use every day (remember that audit of everyday items from week one?) and opting to support one of the nearly 13 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. instead. To help get you started, here are a few women-owned swaps for those products you use every day.
Another way to demonstrate community care for small, women-owned businesses is to follow, like, re-share, and engage with their content on social media, in addition to recommending their business to others.
Last, but not least, rather than joining the 60% of shoppers who will begin their product searches directly on Ama*zon, considering how to build a conscious consumer practice– taking pause to consider values-aligned, women-owned alternatives that exist, or starting online searches with goodbuy– can help support sustained changes to one’s purchasing behaviors overtime. And remember: you can shop women-owned anytime with goodbuy! Just toggle on 'women-owned' anytime you browse.
*Note: This number represents an average across AAPI, Black, Indigenous, LGBTQIA+, Latina, and white women. Due to data limitations, this average fails to consider the wage disparities that exist for women entrepreneurs and business owners with disabilities.
**Note: This percentage does not reflect intersectional identities that include women of color, LGBTQIA+ women, and/or women with disabilities so it is likely that this % is even lower than depicted.