The global GDP could soar by a remarkable 12 trillion dollars if we invest in the equality and empowerment of women. Closing the gender gap and making women economically independent is not only a social and moral issue, but also a huge business growth driver. Brands that are committed to empowering women in businesses stand to not only help bring social change and gender parity but also empower themselves in phenomenal ways. Such brands stand to gain by enlarging their markets and reaching consumer groups they never could have otherwise. They stand to amass extraordinary brand reputation and trust. They get to attract the brightest talent from across the globe, and of course, the satisfaction of making a tremendous social impact simply cannot be ignored.
The message is clear, gender parity and increased inclusivity is good for your business, and the results will show in solid, hard numbers. These numbers come from another McKinsey survey which found that companies that are engaged with women on development issues have seen multifaceted gains.
- 66% of participating companies reported an increase in the pool of skilled, accessible labor
- 64% saw an increase in employee productivity and retention in developing and emerging economies
- 59% reported enhanced brand reputation
- 58% created new markets and expanded old ones
So let’s elaborate on these findings and make a case for 5 powerful ways in which brands that empower women, actually empower themselves. Empowered women empower our society and our nations and the world economy. And that’s just good for business.
1. Positive Brand Image, Reputation and Fantastic Press
Getty Images partnered with Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, to create an updated portfolio of women, called Lean In Collection in their stock photography stack. The new portfolio presenting empowered women saw a 65% growth in revenue. “I can assure you the rest of our business is not growing that fast. So it is resonating both culturally and commercially,” said Getty CEO Jonathan Klein.
Dove saw a jump in sales from $2.5 billion to $4 billion since the launch of its campaign for Real Beauty.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the positive impact of women empowerment on brand. Almost every brand that launched (quality) campaigns aimed at empowering women saw significant boost in not only their reputation, trust and brand image, but in direct sales and revenues too. and why wouldn’t they? Not only are women a huge part of the consumer population but a large section of today’s men are culturally sensitive about the inclusion of their mothers, wives, daughters and friends. Brands that show their care and respect for women hold the promise of making the world a better place and hence see increased trust and loyalty.
2. Empowered Women Make an Empowered World and Create Better Business Opportunities
Like we emphasized repeatedly throughout this post, women comprise half of the world’s consumer base. When we say women, it isn’t an estranged, qualitative entity we are talking about. These women are our mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and girlfriends. Empowering them empowers us. Empowered women go on to empower other women and collectively, we create an environment where more people join the active mainstream consumer population which is simply a great thing for business. Empowered women go on to empower nations at large. Angolan Businesswoman Isabel Dos Santos for instance, has been working towards making Africa adopt the entrepreneurial spirit in a big way. She meets young people, especially women, all across Africa, helping and motivating them to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams and work towards creating a developed Africa by adopting digitization and innovation.
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Hoje é o último dia do Março Mulher, um mês de muita importância para mim. Lembro para todas as mulheres que se devem destacar, fazer mais e melhor, nas nossas empresas, nossas famílias e comunidades. Poder ver as nossas pessoas crescer como a Maria é um motivo de orgulho para nós na Zap. A Maria começou como assistente de loja e hoje é chefe do Departamentro de Contact Center. Nós acreditamos nas mulheres angolanas, investimos nelas através da formação. Queremos dar as melhores oportunidades para que um dia também possam dizer como a Maria: “o que eu faço é sempre com orgulho, é com amor. Eu digo que eu não sou a Maria Antónia, a Maria Sebastião. Eu sou a Maria da Zap”. Veja a história dela. #SharingbyIsabeldosSantos #Zap #Formação #FuturosLíderes #WomenEmpowerment Today is the last day of March Women, a month of great importance to me. I call every woman to stand out for themselves, to do more and better, within our companies, our families, our communities. Being able to see our people grow as Maria makes us so proud at Zap. Maria started as a shop assistant and today she is head of the Contact Center Department. We believe in our Angolan women; we invest in them through training. We want to give the best opportunities so that one day they can also say like Maria: “What I do is always with pride, it’s with love. I say I’m not Maria Antónia, Maria Sebastião. I’m Maria Zap”. Watch her story.
3. Sustained Profitable Growth
The Global Leadership Forecast 2018 presented some remarkable insights into leadership, growth and economy. Interestingly, a survey of over 2,400 organizations around the world showed that brands that have more women in leadership positions are 1.4 times more likely to achieve sustained, profitable growth, compared to those who don’t. A 2014 MIT study on workplace diversity concluded that when gender parity reigns in a workplace, revenue can soar by as much as 41 percent. This can be attributed to the fact that diverse perspectives working together lead to better products and campaigns. And considering that 49.5% or half of the world’s population is women, you have a market that can only truly be harnessed when you have their representatives in leadership positions.
4. Creating New Markets and Expanding Old Ones
An initiative called Project Shakti by Hindustan Unilever took the spirit of entrepreneurship to the most rural parts of India, with the goal to create livelihood opportunities for them. The projects extended microcredit grants that turned these women into direct-to-home distributors of Hindustan Unilever consumer products in some of the remotest parts of India. While the larger goal of making these women financially empowered was undoubtedly achieved, the project also opened up a whole new and very large market for Hindustan Unilever products, spread across 100,000 villages in more than 3 million homes in India. These villages earlier fell into what can be called the media-dark regions of the world that were hardly using any consumer products.
Expanding your brand to such humongous and critical markets would normally cost some very expensive campaigns. But when Hindustan Unilever set out to empower women, the gains came along as a bonus. The project proved so symbiotically successful to HUL that it now plans to make it global.
That is what happens when women are given the chance to become meaningful contributors in business. Brands can reach out to large and under-explored markets when the uniquely feminine perspectives are given a voice.
5. Increased Productivity, Better Global Talent Pool And Happier Employees
All good brands realize that addressing core social issues at the workplace can lead to hard, tangible benefits for the company. Even if these effects are more qualitative and hard to measure, they manifest in the form of employee satisfaction, productivity and retention.
Focusing on creating special benefits like remote working and telecommuting for women choosing work-life balance and planning a family gives brands access to a large pool of bright professionals across the world. Many talented, self assured women often choose their family and children over their career when pressed to choose one. If a brand chose to empower these women by creating a flexible environment for them, they’d have access to a very promising, loyal and productive but often undermined workforce.
More women in the workplace lead to a diverse workforce which is a dynamic hub of great ideas. Women representatives in business leaderships garner wide interest from the huge female customer base. Also, research shows that women spend more of their income on their family’s needs than men do. When we make a woman financially independent, we make a strong case for eradicating poverty and propagating education, leading to more financially independent, educated members of the society. A progressive society goes on to have larger buying potential, which is obviously good for business. In the larger continuum, empowering women simply translates to empowering brands.
(Image Credits – Taken from Pexels.com)