Every day we sit at our desks using our keyboard to draft strategies, share thoughts and be social. Think about the power in your keyboard to press for progress towards gender equality, this year’s theme for International Women’s Day:
“With the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings telling us that gender parity is 216 years away – there has never been a more important time to keep motivated and #PressforProgress. And with global activism for women’s equality fuelled by movements like #MeToo, #TimesUp and more – there is a strong global momentum striving for gender parity.”
Our keyboards have the power to change lives. To change companies. Create communities. To share what we stand for. Pressing on your keyboard can seem like such an insignificant thing, but sometimes it is pressing that keyboard on your laptop, phone or tablet, that starts a ripple which causes a change. Here are five ways you can use your keyboard to press for progress and create gender equality.
1. Provide a warm introduction
This can be invaluable to a business owner. It could also help someone working for a company progress their career by being introduced to the right person at the right time. Women are busy – at work, at home and at play. Time is such a precious commodity and it is the one I hold most dear because we never know how much of it we have. What might be a two minute email for you, saves them several hours of networking, researching and follow-ups. I guarantee it won’t just make you feel good, but it usually will help your own career or business journey down the track.
2. Procure services from other female led businesses
Increasingly we are talking about procurement activism. Women in our network tend to be either business owners or work in corporate. Each of them can press for progress by making sure they support companies that have at least 30% women on the Board of Directors, or are 50% female owned. This is one reason why we wanted our membership to be a public facing website. We want to make it easy for women to find other women owned businesses and support them. So if you are looking for a lawyer, professional development, accountant, marketing and communications agency, HR service, IT or Web Consultancy, you use the power in your keyboard to search Femeconomy first.
3. Take the Femeconomy Pledge
Women spent $818 billion last financial year. That’s an incredible amount of economic power women have in their hands as customers, to effect change. Purchasing from companies that are women led will encourage more companies to have women in leadership. More women in leadership will be the catalyst to accelerate gender equality. But it starts with you as the consumer.
Each female consumer is loyal to and habitually shops 10 brands. Make sure your top 10 are Femeconomy approved and you will progress gender equality with every purchase. Since we started Femeconomy I have switched my skincare to Edible Beauty, I only buy Sorbent toilet paper and I only buy Caltex or Shell Fuel for my car. I am using online shopping and my pressing my digits on the EFTPOS machine to press for progress. What are the small changes you could make?
4. Reach out to a new community and seek to understand
I used to work in South-East London in a borough where over 160 languages were spoken and around 50% of the population was Black British/Black Caribbean. My job was Community Involvement Manager. Every day I felt like I was taken on a trip around the world as I was eager to learn about the different cultures and communities that lived together.
When we travel we are excited by the possibility of meeting new people from far away lands. Why don’t we apply the same wonder and excitement when we are at home? We can press for progress in our own backyards if we seek to understand those different from us. Everyone has an interesting story and by asking them to share it, we often learn something about ourselves. So press for progress, by asking someone completely different from you for a coffee or a chat over the phone. It is my wish that as we progress gender equality, we bring diversity with us.
5. Nurture collaboration over competition
Over the last 17 months Jade and I have met with many women who also have a tribe of women around them, including The Remarkable Woman, Women Who Get It, Sparrows United and Business in Heels. I always find it interesting when people see competition first. When I see a group of women coming together and forming a business, I get excited. It is wonderful to see people joining together with a collective voice to progress gender equality. For us, it is about understanding their offering so we can refer relevant connections to their network, send people to their events, share content and discuss ideas. So press for progress by dialing the number of your “competitor” and look for ways you can bring greater traffic to your industry.