· By Oonagh Simms
Empower, Nurture, Defend
Hurray for International Women’s Day! As an all women team we’re pretty grateful to recognise and celebrate women’s achievements. But it also gives us an opportunity to take stock at how far we still have to go to achieve equality. I always feel a little conflicted about marketing today- am I undermining the struggle for equality by using an Instagram post to sell gourmet marshmallows? It’s about empowering women culturally and politically – it’s not Black Friday For Her. Today should be about celebration but also about positive action and not slogans. Deeds not words. But as a women led business talking about gender and our own experiences and actions is important.
So here’s the change we want to see:
When you employ women – pay them properly
Paying the Living Wage should be a given. It’s women who work in predominately low paid sectors and industries. Nearly 1/3 of all working women in the UK don’t earn a wage they can live on, a real Living Wage.
If you want more women running businesses- buy from them.
Women lead only 1 in 5 small and medium-sized enterprises in the U.K. While women in the UK outnumber men by around 1 million, there are twice as many male entrepreneurs as females. So it’s still men who get to decide what we’re consuming, what we need and what we want. Change that- buy from women.
If you want more women representing you- vote for them.
Why on earth in 2019 do we not have 50:50 representation at every level of our politics? We should have an equal voice for women from local councils, the Cabinet, all governing bodies and boards. If you have the opportunity to vote- vote. At every level. Because that one random vote might not seem that important. But it matters for women that you do.
If you want more women in power- invest in them
Men are 86% more likely than women to secure venture capital investment and women routinely receive fewer and smaller bank loans for their businesses – and they tend to be charged more. In aggregate, just 9% of U.K. start-up funding goes to women-run businesses. How are we meant to ‘lean in’ when we can’t even get around the table?
If you want to shift attitudes towards women - watch what you say
I have stopped counting the amount of times- in actual meetings- I have been referred to as a ‘girl’ or us as ‘girls’ when running the business. Language is important. ‘Girls’ is undermining, dismissive, patronising. We’re adult women who run a company. And guess what? I’m not being ‘over sensitive’
And, after that, if you do buy our marshmallows…today and for the rest of the weekend, we’ll be giving 20% of all sales to Women’s Aid. Because, it’s pretty shitty that in 2019 we still need a Women’s Aid. So here’s to supporting women, empowering them, nurturing them and defending them.
Happy International Women’s Day!