Today (Monday 8th March 2021) is International Women’s Day, and many brands around the world are showing their support. This year the theme is to #ChooseToChallenge, to encourage everyone to use the day to highlight gender inequalities, and encourage women in particular to challenge anything or anyone that might be holding them back.
As a passionate feminist, I have always loved seeing how brands and individuals celebrate International Women’s Day, but this year it feels particularly poignant. The Covid-19 pandemic, whilst having a huge impact across the board, has hit women particularly hard. According to PWC, 78% of the people made redundant in the UK last year were women. Women have disproportionately had to shoulder the childcare responsibilities when the nurseries and schools were closed, and women are over-represented in the sectors that were hit most severely, such as beauty, events and tourism.
Not only that, but 77% of our amazing NHS staff are female, despite only 48% holding senior management roles. This increases to 82.2% of women when we look specifically at those working in social care, such as looking after the elderly in care homes. I can only imagine how hard they have worked to keep the most vulnerable members of our society safe over the last year, and how much of a mental and physical toll it would have taken on them to witness the virus taking the lives of so many they care for.
There is huge cultural change that is required to truly ‘close the gap’ between men and women, let alone when we think about the impact on BAME women, and transgender women. I am cautious of brands who align themselves with the day and the movement as a token gesture. A casual post on social media to gain favour is not being a champion of women’s rights. But, when a company is putting its money behind an ad campaign that has been well thought through and makes a genuine statement, it’s a cause for celebration and kudos.
Here are a few examples of my favourite IWD2021 campaigns…
Interflora have released a special bunch of flowers called the Equal Power bouquet, inspired by Bumble’s Whitney Wolfe Herd, the first female self-made billionaire. There are a number of ads in the campaign where white and red flowers visually represent the lack of women in power. The statistics they highlight include:
- Only 1 in 20 CEO’s are women
- Only one-third of MP’s are women
- Only 6.1% of world leaders are women
- Only 7.4% of Fortune 500 companies are run by women
- Women would have needed to work 36 extra days to earn the same as men in 2020
I think this is my favourite campaign of the bunch…
All hail my favourite jewellery brand, Missoma. This year, Missoma’s IWD campaign involves a collaboration with The Prince’s Trust “Women Supporting Women” campaign. If customers purchase any of 3 symbolic pendants, the brand will donate 50% of the profits to the charity, which says its mission is to “provide the right help to nurture, empower and inspire young women to build their own futures through employment, self-employment, education or training”. All of the pendants are an upside-down triangle, an ancient symbol of femininity, and you can choose The Golden Chalice, The Trust Yourself Pendant, and The Imposter Syndrome Fighter.
Another jewellery brand with a fabulous IWD campaign, Monica Vinader, are donating 10% of all purchases to the charity Women For Women International.
This amazing charity supports female survivors of war to rebuild their lives, with a focus on those who are subjected to sexual violence. The charity was founded by Zainab Salbi when she was just 23, after she heard stories about women being subjected to rape as a ‘weapon of war’ in Bosnia between 1992- 1995. The charity has now reached over 500,000 women across 8 different countries, including Afghanistan, Rwanda and Iraq.
Hats off to Charlotte Tilbury, who has donated a huge £1million from the sales of the Hot Lips 2 collection, also to Women For Women International, where she is an ambassador. She’s handed over her Instagram stories today to the charity’s Executive Director, Brita Fernandez Schmidt, who will be sharing stories about the women they support and the incredible work that the charity does.
If anything could make me start wearing lipstick, it’s knowing that my purchase would support a cause like this one!
A super cute wardrobe staple for an amazing cause, for an absolute bargain. Mine’s already in the post – as it is for half of the women in the team. We might need to work out some kind of rota to wear it when we get back into the office, but maybe we will all just twin with pride.
They will be donating £5 of each purchase of the £19.95 mugs, so if you like your coffee with a side of philanthropy and female empowerment, head to the website. I reckon it would make a fabulous gift for your mum on Mother’s Day.
Papier x Gurls Talk
The final brand in my International Women’s Day 2021 round up is stationary brand Papier, who have collaborated with Adwoa Aboah to create a limited-edition journal. Adwoa is a British model and founder of online community Gurls Talk, which “provides resources and a safe space for young womxn and gxrls to discuss loneliness”. The ‘self reflection notebook’ has inspirational doodles and quotes throughout, all of which have been contributed by the all-female design team.
#On the Papier website, the journal is described as “a space for your honest thoughts and feelings, with prompts to help you check with yourself & others, quotes from inspirational women to lift you up, and a list of helpful mental health resources at the back.”
A huge shoutout to all of the brands that are publically promoting International Women’s Day, promoting gender equality, and looking out for women all around the world mentally and financially.