It is growing more and more urgent that brands express strong views, engage with social activism, and embrace empowerment to the full. In 2020, it is no longer enough for brands to simply use buzz words — they must evidence their commitment to empowerment in their actions and how they treat their employees. As well as creating high-quality products, companies must support valuable initiatives, offer employee benefits, and make sure they are flexible around their employees’ needs.
From finding new ways to properly support working mothers, to creating makeup lines that are inclusive of all skin tones, many brands are leading the way in female empowerment, battling stereotypes as they go.
Let’s take a look at some brands that are championing empowerment and inclusivity and consider how other organisations might work to follow their lead.
Taking the beauty world by storm, Rihanna’s brand, Fenty Beauty, was first created in 2018 and has done powerful work to revolutionise the sector ever since. Inclusivity is at the heart of Fenty’s work, and their campaign “beauty for all” set out to smash barriers and prejudices in the industry, allowing people to find the perfect products for them, no matter what their skin tone is. Their pioneering range of foundations span from the lightest to the darkest tone, with 50 different carefully curated shades to choose from. Prior to this, those with dark skin tones regularly struggled to find that perfect match and media whitewashing made people of colour feel invisible within the beauty industry. Thanks to the efforts of Fenty Beauty, they are now seen and catered for more than ever before.
When discussing Fenty’s “beauty for all” campaign, the Chief Marketing Officer at Kendo Brands, Sandy Saputo, said: “Our approach to inclusion marketing has always been about ‘showing, not telling’ … [we want] to share authentic stories that are rooted in culture and are emotionally meaningful to consumers.” She went on to explain that Fenty’s campaign set out to “break and disrupt all the traditional marketing rules and carve a new path,” and to create a “call to action for all industries to do more and challenge the status quo.”.
Bumble is another brand that is leading the way for female empowerment in creative and innovative ways. In fact, the very concept that Bumble is based around is empowering for women, allowing them to speak first and take control in a dating scenario. After leaving her previous role as a result of sexual harassment and sexism, Bumble’s CEO, Whitney Wolfe Herd, created the unique dating app with the aim of putting women at the centre of the action, encouraging them to make the first move.
As well as the concept behind the popular app, Bumble also works to empower its employees in a practical and flexible way. There are many perks that come with working at Bumble, which particularly focus on the needs of women and working mothers. These include:
- The ability for parents to bring children to the office as needed.
- 16 weeks of paid parental leave.
- 100% health care coverage.
- Designated breast-feeding rooms.
What’s more, the Bumble executive team is 80 per cent female, meaning that women who work, or aspire to work, in this company have a plethora of positive role models to look up to.
For over 60 years, Lil-Lets has supported women around the world by providing them with sanitary products that truly take their needs into account. A female gynaecologist developed their renowned SmartFit tampon back in 1954, and ever since then, this brand has worked tirelessly to help meet women’s needs.
In addition to creating sanitary pads and tampons with women’s comfort and convenience in mind, this brand has supported women in numerous other ways, including aiding the ongoing fight against period poverty.
Throughout the years, Lil-Lets has worked with charities and women’s initiatives to help empower women everywhere. Their work with the charity Brook (which provides free and confidential sexual health and wellbeing advice and support), for example, evidences their desire to make a real change in the world of sexual health and period poverty. Discussing their work with Brook, a spokesperson from Lil-Lets said: “At Lil-Lets it’s important to us that we support women whatever their time of month or time of life. And regardless of whatever challenges they face, we’re here to make a difference to those in need. We’re committed to tackling period poverty, from all angles, and have partnered with the young people’s charity Brook to work together to achieve this.”
They haven’t stopped there either — Lil-Lets has also engaged with numerous community initiatives. They are the official partner of Everton FC Women, supporting the team both on the pitch and with them in the community via the Everton in the Community program.
Clearly, there are many ways in which brands can champion empowerment, and both small and big changes are paramount in creating greater gender equality. Morefrequently, we are witnessing brands striving for true equality and the future is sure to hold even more inspiring work.