There comes a time when good people need to get outraged, and take action. This is one of those times.
Only 1.9 percent of all philanthropic giving goes to women and girls worldwide. Less than 2 percent of the wealth of this entire sector is going to help approximately half of the world’s population. Meanwhile, systemic injustices continue to hold that same population back. The lack of progress — that statistic, 1.9 percent, is unmoved since 2018 — infuriates me. But I see a glimmer of hope. And that’s where you, as a business owner or leader, come in (sole proprietors, I’m also talking to you).
Where philanthropy is failing, you can save the day. Businesses are increasingly becoming a force for social good and providing resources in ways that philanthropy alone cannot, or will not. Filling in those missing dollars is important not just for women, but for our economy and our society as a whole. As the US Department of State explains,
“Women’s meaningful economic participation is integral to achieving greater security and stability around the world. When women are empowered economically, they invest in their families and communities, spurring economic growth and creating more stable societies.”
Women also put their income back into the economy. 96 percent of women have primary or shared responsibility for family financial decisions, and 70–80 percent of all consumer purchases are driven by women, through buying power and influence.
Maybe you’re thinking, “I can’t write a big enough check.” Please hear me that your small check today is worth so much more than the bigger check you want to write down the line. That’s the beauty of the giving circle model, which I’ve written about previously and which is at the heart of Working for Women, the nonprofit organization that I founded and run. Working for Women offers a low-lift way for business owners and leaders like you to have a significantimpact, by pooling your contribution — of any size — with those of other businesses committed to using their companies to help create a better world.
It’s simple math, really: Together, we can make a much bigger difference for women (and, in turn, for our economy and our world) than any one of us can alone. One thousand checks for $100 each are worth just as much as one check for $100,000. By working together, small contributions can be combined to have a large impact.
As Angie Byrnes, a Working for Women member and the owner of Spark 180, a small business in Denver, Colorado, reflected,
“Working for Women makes it so simple to support women in need! I love that they [combine donations] to provide greater help than just one donation could — and that they’ve already vetted the receiving organizations so you don’t have to.”
For more about how we channel businesses’ contributions to vetted nonprofits working for women, visit our website.
Here are four reasons why more and more business owners like Angie are joining Working for Women to invest in women:
- Attract and retain great people
Did you know that the majority of people would be willing to take a paycut if it meant they could do more purposeful work? Making a demonstrable commitment to helping women will help you attract key talent, not to mention clients, which in turn will help grow your business.
- Attract socially conscious investors
Companies that invest in women create something that socially-conscious investors respond to — especially Millennials. This is a generation on track to becoming the number one influencers of capital markets in the coming decades.
- Create brand loyalty
Investing in women helps create brand loyalty among your clients and customers. Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger. By purchasing from you, they will become an extension of your investment and will embrace the feeling that they too are creating change.
- Build powerful connections and long-lasting business relationships
Working with organizations like Working for Women will help you and your employees connect with others who share your values, expand your network, and build meaningful business relationships.
You have an opportunity to be part of changing that 1.9 percent statistic I shared at the top of this article. Or, you can simply note the statistic and not do anything differently — not take any responsibility for being part of the solution. Which feels better? Which is more aligned with the kind of person, and business owner, you want to be?
Remember: Thanks to our giving circle model, even a small contribution can make a big difference. When you join Working for Women, you become a part of a community of businesses and professionals working together as a force for good.
Together we can invest in the change we want to see in the world!
Founder & CEO, Working for Women