Where to spend money to support women in leadership

The latest on a fancy new website, Femeconomy, which lists the brands that promote and foster women in leadership.

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There’s a handy new website available for those who want to spend money to support women in leadership.

Femeconomy offers a simple way to shop for the things you love through a gender lens – by presenting more than 700 brands that meet its criteria for gender diversity in leadership.

It’s timely because Australian women spent or influenced $13.3 billion in online purchases last year, making the opportunities significant for those that address gender diversity in leadership.

When often-quoted research reveals women account for 85 per cent of purchasing decisions, I find it astounding to see large consumer-facing organisations continuing to ignore the fact their leadership structures are male dominated – like Dominos Pizza which, until recently with the appointment of Lynda O’Grady in 2015, had no women on its board.

Meanwhile other major retailers like Myer, still fail to meet the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ 30 per cent target for women on boards, despite women accounting for the vast majority of foot-traffic in stores.

Femeconomy’s been created by two women who’ve personally worked across the corporate sector and are fed up with the lack of progress, Jade Collins and Alanna Bastin-Byrne.

They also happen to be sisters in-law, which adds a family touch to the collaboration.

Speaking with Collins on the phone today she told me she’s been working on the website full-time since March, when she quit her job in HR in the mining sector.

“I’ve been working on the diversity agenda as an internal employee in big corporates and I just didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere,” she tells me on her motivation to launch the site.

“I read that key stat that women make 85 per cent of consumer decisions or influence them, and that was the push for me.”

Since March, most of her time’s been spent on research, which has enabled Femeconomy to launch with 2000+ brands, after searching for brands that do and don’t meet their criteria of being either at least 50 per cent owned by women, or boasting at least 30 per cent female representation on their boards.

As such, Myer does not meet the Femeconomy criteria (it just needs one more female board director to hit the 30 per cent target) while rival David Jones does.

Believing it’s the only website of its kind in the world, the pair plan to go global after officially launching in Australia next year (it’s in a ‘soft launch’ stage) building the business through affiliate marketing programs – with 80 already on board in Australia.

“I just see this as something that’s internationally scalable as an idea. Especially when you think about the potential as you move into countries that are less developed over time,” says Collins.

Alanna Bastin-Byrne says the ultimate aim of Femeconomy is to create a “paradigm shift” in how companies operate.

She believes more female leaders will mean better work practices – including measures that address workplace flexibility, and the pay and superannuation gaps. “If you help women, you help the community,” she says.

It’s a smart new business, and one that will hopefully encourage smarter businesses elsewhere.

Now us consumers at home can play along too, and use our credit cards to support the businesses that ‘get it’.

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