Business of Men

Power of the purse


Women make 85% of consumer purchase decisions. In 2015-16 in Australia alone this equated to $198.9 billion. This is a huge economic lever. What if we could use it to progress gender equality? If consumer activism can free the chickens, surely with money muscle like that we can make a more equal world for men and women. Don’t underestimate the power of the purse.

How can consumer activism progress gender equality?

At Femeconomy we want women to shop brands with female leaders to create gender equality.  The criteria to be a Femeconomy approved brand is to have at least 30% of women on the Board of Directors or be 50% female owned. So far, over 700 brands meet our criteria out of 2000 brands on the site.

Why should you care about female leaders within companies?

Imagine this. You have a career, you become pregnant, you have a baby and are the main caregiver. You choose to stay at home and not work until you can find suitable child care. Then you start to experience the gender and superannuation pay gap. When you do find childcare and decide to re-enter the workforce, it’s difficult because there is a lack of companies offering flexible arrangements.

The reason we need more female leaders is to have diversity of thought where company policies are made and research shows that the magic number to make a difference at board level is 30%. Culture is lead from the top. The voices at the top-tier can request gender equality pay audits, parental leave policies and work flexibility arrangements. It’s more likely these policies will be considered because as a society it is still the norm for Mums to take on the primary caring role. Therefore, women who understand this challenge are more likely to change things and send the elevator back down to assist others progressing through the organisation.

What about the men?

This question often comes up and our answer is that gender equality is good for men too. Just ask Barack Obama, Justin Trudeau or any of the Male Champions of Change.

Research from the Peterson Institute of International Economics shows that going from having no women in leadership to a 30% share is associated with a 15% increase in profit for a typical firm. Everyone understands profit. If you open doors to women instead of closing them, more people in the company benefit. Men and women.

We need men to be involved in the conversation to help achieve gender equality. We need men to mentor women into leadership roles. We need them to allow both parents to choose how they want to take parental leave. We need them to be okay if Dads leave work early to pick up the kids or to get dinner on for the family. In the digital age, life can and should be more flexible. Men want more flexibility too and gender equality will enable this.

Each female’s leadership journey is unique

Each week we profile female leaders and their paths to leadership. A females way to the top is usually not linear and non-traditional. It is important we share and celebrate these career journeys to show each can be unique. Learn about the women behind the brands you know and love.

Global Gender Gap Index

The World Economic Forum recently reported that Australia has slid from 36th place in 2015, to 46th place in 2016 on the Global Gender Gap Index. Rwanda, The Philippines and Nicuragua are all in the top 10. As a sporting nation, I know we love a leader board and we don’t like to be beaten at anything. So next time you are at the supermarket, choose Sorbent over Kleenex, choose Dove over Johnson and Johnson and Rexona over Norsca. There is power in your purse.

About Jade and Alanna

Alanna Bastin-Byrne and Jade Collins are Co-Founders of and sisters-in-law.Alanna has over 16 years’ experience in Marketing, Communications and Community Development leadership in the UK and Australia. Alanna’s experience spans a wide range of industries including Health, Arts, Events, Education, Social Housing and Tourism. The diversity of Alanna’s leadership experience has been instrumental in building Femeconomy’s engaged community to advance gender equality.Jade has over 19 years’ global experience in corporate executive Human Resources and management consulting roles in the Mining, Energy and Aerospace industries, leading large scale, complex change management programs. Jade finds the combination of her HR, Psychology and MBA qualifications and her leadership experience invaluable for creating networks and engaging others to increase gender equality in leadership across industries. Jade is a member of the Queensland Government's Strategic Advisory Group for the Toward Gender Parity: Women on Boards Initiative.

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