“I am woman, hear me roar” are the famous words Helen Reddy sang back in 1971. While roaring is still a plausible option, women are now bringing about equality and social change in other ways. Take the brands you whip out your wallet for, for example. By supporting or buying goods and services from businesses that aim to make the world a better place for women – you’re bringing about social change with your hip pocket.
In a week where we’ve all been celebrating the power of bold women (hello, International Women’s Day!), there’s no better way to champion female empowerment than by supporting the companies committed to improving the lives of us ladies. The definition of a guilt-free purchase? It’s this, friends.
Here are the five Australian businesses who are helping women to live a better, richer life every single day. Something to roar about, right?
If you’re looking for a bank who truly puts women first, Westpac is it. Last year it made the bold decision to introduce parental leave lending, recognising paid parental leave and return to work income, irrespective of which partner has taken leave, in their borrowing capacity for home lending. The policy helps Aussie families reach their financial goals and means that women who are taking time out of the workforce to raise the next generation aren’t penalised. Amen. For. That. Westpac has also created Ruby Connection, an interactive website created to support, educate and connect women from across Australia at the click of a mouse.
The company is also investing in the next generation of Australians - for Westpac's 200th birthday year, they're giving $200 for every baby born in 2017 as part of the Bump Savings Account.
Oh, and it’s worth noting that they were one of the first publicly-listed companies in the country to provide paid parental leave. Importantly, they were also the first private sector company to pay superannuation on unpaid parental leave in 2010. This means the huge Aussie-wide retirement savings gap women face is lessened for Westpac employees. Other Australian companies take note - this is how you empower women financially.
2. Gift Box Organic.
I can’t recall a time I’ve ever been excited about a tampon. Amazingly, Gift Box Organic has changed that. The organisation, started by Neighbours actress and former Social Worker Saskia Hampele, sells 100 per cent organic cotton tampons for $7.95. No, that’s not the most exciting bit - I’m getting to that.
In purchasing a box for yourself, the company donates another box of tampons to an Australian homeless woman who may not have access to sanitary care. Considering it’s estimated there are 46,000 homeless women in Australia at any one time, this is a huge way to help those doing it tough. Feel good tampons? Yes, please.
3. Dress For Success.
What do you do with your work clothes once you’ve upgraded them? Do they sit in the back of your closet? Or end up in a random clothing bin somewhere? Next time, consider donating them to Dress For Success.
This brilliant charity helps out disadvantaged women by giving them your pre-loved professional clothing so they can attend job interviews feeling their very best. But it’s not just about looks, the organisation also offers career development tools and a network of support for those struggling to support a family on their own, or who are coming out of a difficult life situation. Bravo.
There’s a fact all women with sisters know: they’re the most supportive friends you’ll ever have. Which is why the Sister2Sister program is so brilliant. It’s a mentoring program that pairs “at-risk” teenage girls with “sisters”, AKA, positive female role models who have life experience. The year-long program allows the mentor to offer advice, guidance and, well, friendship, to their little sister. Think this could be something you could commit to? Head here. The more sisters in the world, the better.
The Workplace Gender Equality Agency has found that only 13.2 per cent of employers have a strategy for supporting the caring responsibilities of working parents. Not a great statistic, right? That’s where [email protected] comes in. This organisation teams up with companies to develop programs for working mums (and dads) that allow them flexibility and the tools to do their job effectively. Because we all know that happy parents equal happy workers.
Are there any businesses we've missed?
This content was created with thanks to our brand partner Westpac.
Westpac was the first bank with a business unit exclusively dedicated to supporting women and girls. In its 200th year, Westpac is supporting families by offering every baby born in 2017 $200 in a Bump Savings account which they can withdraw when they turn 16, if their parent or guardian opens the account in their name between 8 April 2017 and 31 May 2018. Conditions apply. Click here to find out more about how Westpac can help instil positive financial and savings habits from an early age.