Did you know that women make over 85% of all purchase decisions!? This little statistic sparked a big idea for the team behind Femeconomy who have developed a way for us to use our everyday shopping decisions to create a difference for women everywhere.
Information is power
Over time, we’ve been given more and more information to make consumer choices. Are the chemicals used in this household cleaner bad for the environment? Are these cosmetics tested on animals? Are these sneakers made in a sweat shop? The visibility of information has not only shaped the decisions we make as consumers, but encourages business themselves to operate in a way that reflects the expectations of their customers. Through purchasing power and consumer demand we are empowered to change the world, one transaction at a time. (Now that is a good reason to shop if ever there was one!)
So how do we want to use our consumer power?
Jade Collins and Alanna Bastin-Byrne are Femeconomy’s founders and two social entrepreneurs with a very clear answer to this question: they want to make the world a better place for their daughters. To do so, they are connecting us with the ability to influence gender equality through our purchases.
Promoting women was already good for business
Research shows that going from having no women in corporate leadership to 30% females is associated with a 1% increase in net margin, which translates to a 15% increase in profitability for a typical firm. The shift is often a result of the benefits of diversity: different people means different thinking which leads to better decision making and results.
Yet as citizens of the world, we know there’s other reasons we need to support women joining the top tiers of business. For too long women have been prevented from reaching their potential by societal norms that reserved boardrooms for men only. The glass ceiling does not exist due to capability, but custom and often sets the tone for the organisation as a whole. While these customs are changing and the pipeline of talent in Australia is filling out with females, the shift at the top has been painstakingly slow.
But what if the onus for change was not based purely on the ‘pull’ of better business results and doing the right thing, but also the ‘push’ of consumer preference?
Femeconomy are giving consumers like you and me information to enable us to choose to support businesses that support women. Their research has spanned 2,000 brands to identify those who’ve demonstrated their commitment to gender equality with at least 50% female ownership or 30% women on their board.
- You’re standing in the toiletries aisle trying to decide between Carefree and Libra… would it interest you to know one organisation has demonstrated a great commitment to equality than the other? Libra has done the better job.
- You’re picking up an appliance which is available from both Myer and David Jones. Did you know David Jones’ Board of Directors has more than 30% women and Myer’s doesn’t?
- You test drove the BMW and the Mercedes but can’t decide which to go for. It may want to consider that BMW have demonstrated their commitment to gender equality by ensuring their board is made up of at least 30% females, whereas Mercedes have not.
- Indifferent about where you bank? Perhaps you’d be surprised to learn that Commonwealth Bank is the only among the ‘big four’ to achieve the Australian Institute of Company Directors key gender diversity target.
Of course price, quality, convenience will enter the equation as factors to consider in making your purchases… but when all else is equal wouldn’t you rather support the business that supports women? And in doing so demonstrate gender equality is a critical consideration for you as a customer?
Our consumer choices are no longer simply a purchase… they are a preference. They are a decision, a vote, a message… and as Femeconomy’s work takes hold, a movement. I for one am SO excited to be able to get behind this one.
Do your favourite brands have the femeconomy tick of approval? Do you think businesses should be doing more to ensure their senior leaders reflect their customers? Do you love the idea of using your consumer power to shift the dial!? I’d love to hear all your thoughts in the comments below!