Between #MeToo, the immigration battles and the Kavanaugh hearings, 2018 has been a tough year for women. For those who thought the battle for equal pay and equal rights ended with their mothers, it’s been a wake-up call and a stark reminder that there’s still a lot of work to be done.
We were recently asked where One For Women stands on all of this “political” stuff. For a split second, we had to think about just how far we wanted to go on the hot-button issues of our time. Would we speak out? Or would we restrict our platform to messages about gift sets and women makers and giving back? What voice, and what message, did we want to have in this heightened environment?
It didn’t take us long to realize that this was never a question in the first place. As lifelong feminists, activists and adamant supporters of human rights, we HAVE to use our voices to stand up and speak out on behalf of women. As a company built on a mission of supporting women, we HAVE to use our platform to combat the hatred and vitriol spewed at women who dare to “step out of line”.
As mothers and wives, it’s our obligation and our duty to stand up for ourselves and future generations. And as women, it’s our privilege to be a part of the change we wish to see in this world.
We know that by taking a stand we risk losing business. We are cognizant that not every person and not every woman thinks that what is happening right now is unjust. We recognize that much like every difficult issue, there is more than one side to this. And yet, we will speak out. Because to be a “woman” company, a company whose mission is to build up and promote women, means to uphold that mission and those values in every aspect of our existence, and not just through words or catch phrases in our marketing.
If you’re still questioning why this matters, here’s why. Around the world, today:
- 62 million girls are denied an education
- An estimated 15 million girls under 18 are married EVERY YEAR, most against their will
- 4 out of 5 victims of human trafficking are girls
- Female genital mutilation affects more than 200 million girls and women
- American women serving in Iraq or Afghanistan are more likely to be raped by a fellow military member than killed by the enemy
Still not convinced this affects you? Think again. Here in the United States, gender discrimination, inequality, and violence affect our opportunities – women start their businesses with half as much capital as men and less than 5% of CEO positions at S&P 500 companies are held by women.
It affects our earnings potential – even with full-time jobs, women only earn 77% of their male counterparts’ earnings (African American women only earn 64% and for Latina women that number drops to 56%).
And it affects our health and safety – one in five women on U.S. college campuses has experienced sexual assault and nearly one-third of women who have been in a relationship have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence by that partner. ONE THIRD. That’s one woman for every three. Think about that the next time you and your two best girlfriends hang out. Women aged 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war, and malaria. Imagine if sexual assault were as regulated as seatbelts.
THIS is why we use our voices, and why we won’t ever stop. As a company, One For Women will never back away from taking a stand on all moral issues, regardless of the heat we may take for it. We can’t claim to be a company built on supporting and empowering women if we’re not going to stand up for them when it really counts.
For anyone who questions this decision, we’d only ask this of you. Go back to the core of what we stand for – compassion. If a girl halfway across the world has been denied an education, then we have been denied an education. If a female coworker is passed over for a promotion due to her gender, then we have been passed over for that promotion too. If a neighbor was raped, then we were raped. We won’t just continue to stand up for these issues because it is the right thing to do, but because together, we are stronger, and that is everything.
Want to take a stand? Here are some actions you can take today to make a difference:
- And not just in the general election or the midterms. Vote in your primaries and your local elections. Every time you are given the opportunity to exercise your democratic right, take it.
- Encourage more women and girls to be leaders, whether this means working towards CEO or running for office. De-stigmatize being “bossy.”
- Support female-owned businesses with your spending dollars.
- Speak up. Whether it’s sexual harassment or workplace discrimination, lending your support to someone in need may give them the strength to use their own voice.