Many considered 2018 to be the year of women. With an unprecedented amount of support and activism, it was time to create change. On the heels of this worldwide movement, women’s rights are at the forefront of a much-needed global conversation and one that I feel particularly passionate about.
This year, International Women’s Day (IWD) focused on #BalanceforBetter – an agenda aimed at promoting gender equality, furthering awareness of discrimination and celebrating the achievements of women. Activism at such a large scale presents unique opportunities for brands to align with the movement and/or further demonstrate commitment to an issue. This year was no different, as various companies launched campaigns in an effort to empower women.
Now it may just be me, but I find it truly disappointing when a brand pretends to get behind a movement they’ve done nothing authentic to support. A tweet is no longer sufficient – we must be able to trust and believe in the brands that say they want to walk on this journey with us. We must continue to break the glass ceiling and we cannot do it alone. Here are some of the big takeaways from this year’s campaigns and initiatives that launched on IWD:
Invest in the movers and shakers of your value chain.
For DOVE Chocolate, it’s all about the cocoa beans. This part of their operations is essential to the quality and wellbeing of the final product we all know and love. But, did you know that the majority of their cocoa farms are tended to by women? In a ground-breaking move by DOVE Chocolate and CARE, the two have expanded their partnership to build a new marketplace in West Africa that empowers women to become financially independent. The market, which will open in July, is designed to be a safe and secure space for women – one that enhances the lives of the many female cocoa farmers impacting the company’s operations.
Celebrate the women who’ve paved the way for a new generation.
In a sports industry that’s dominated by men, it can be hard as a sponsor to push for more inclusiveness. At Vans, the skatewear company, they are hoping to be a leading voice in this space and highlight those who’ve helped open the doors for more women. This IWD, Vans launched a series of digital stories celebrating women skateboarders around the world. This all falls under the brands larger campaign, “This is Off The Wall,” which also includes a series of women’s skate workshops globally.
Take on the hard issues.
Saying you believe in women rights and actively taking a stand to support women are two very different things. Clearly, Benefit Cosmetics understands the difference. This year, the company shut down on IWD to help women tackle the gender pay gap, an issue very few companies have figured out how to address. The brand provided a list of ten things women can do to “smash the patriarchy” starting with volunteering at local nonprofits that support women and finishing with encouraging women to take leaps in their career. We really are stronger together!
IWD is one day out of the year, but the push for women’s rights is a continued conversation that needs to happen 365 days a year. Let’s take a cue from these brands and invest – invest in women in business, tackle the hard issues and celebrate those who are paving the way.