I think that this is one of the most special eras in which to be a woman. Probably because the idea of being a woman has extended itself far beyond the traditional stereotypes to being relatively respected. Even though being able to vote and work were significant milestones achieved by women, I still feel that now, more than ever before, our opinions and contributions aren’t being carelessly swept under the rug – after all living in the time of social media means everyone has a say.
Within the last year, since the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations laid bare the dark side to a glamorous world, a ripple effect has been created. I suppose it is because it was the blunt reality that sexism and gender inequality still exist at every social and economic level. It reinstated the fact that women everywhere, no matter who they are, are the underdogs, the ones who have to endure the fight a little longer and under more excruciating circumstances.
For a brief moment, despite all that women have achieved I found myself thinking ‘well we haven’t come that far’. But in fact, we have, after all because it takes much strength, social and political integrity to share our truths, no matter how difficult they are, and hope that they will be processed fairly.
I also believe that there is urgent need for holistic and active improvement of the society in which girls develop into women. Look at the fashion industry, for example. Most of the clothing in fast fashion stores are made by women under supremely inhumane conditions. However, men are in top positions at luxury fashion houses, ruling the roost as heads and creative directors.
In addition to this, all while embracing sexuality is incredibly important for women, I don’t believe it is the only storyline that brands should use to sell clothing. You may they think that these are insignificant observations in terms of the advancement of women, but they all paint the same picture; women still have a long way to go.
We need access to the same opportunities and education as men, regardless of economic and social background. Women deserve the right to a safe and clean working environment, so they can provide for themselves and their families. Instead of always using female empowerment as a fashionable feminist marketing ploy, fashion needs to change the way it treats the millions of women it employs.
As much as there is incredible excitement when an actress gets ample pay, or a woman earns a chief executive officer position, we must also look at the small but significant ways our actions support or further impoverish women. Consumers have economic power and can bring pressure to bear on those who do not measure up. That being said, here are a few brands and retailers which help women, that I think are worth your dollar.
On the expensive side but totally worth it. This company has released a series of designer t-shirts that are steep in price. However, all proceeds from sales go to the charity Women to Women. So just think of it as your good deed for the month or year, perhaps.
This is a Trinidad-based company that sells jewelry hand-crafted by survivors of sexual and domestic violence. Their supply chain is impeccable, and they truly help to financially empower women who are reclaiming their lives.
Believe it or not, feminism has become some sort of pop culture trend and brands rush to capitalize on it. In some ways this is good because it brings awareness to the struggles women face. However, I think it is best to buy from brands that are pledging their entire sales of a product to a charity. This year, Elizabeth Arden collaborated with Reese Witherspoon and recreated its iconic red lipstick. 100% of proceeds of sales of this product will be given to UN Women.
Finally, in all that you do, even if you can’t manage to support an ethical brand that is working actively to create a level playing field for women, try as much as possible to refrain from purchasing from those that actively seek to impoverish them for the sake of profit.