Sisters are doing it for themselves
WOMEN make more than 85% of purchase decisions, so it should be women who walk the talk and force change in the workplace.
That's the driving philosophy behind Femeconomy - a company founded last September by Pottsville's Alanna Bastin-Byrne and her sister-in-law Jade Collins - which unashamedly promotes businesses that support women.
To get the female economy - or 'Femeconomy' as they call it - up and moving, women should support those brands that have the Femeconomy seal of approval, given to those companies which are able to boast either 30% women on the board of directors or 50% female ownership.
"We want women to shop brands with female leaders to create gender equality,” Ms Bastin-Byrne said.
"We see this as a way to create a paradigm shift with the way companies operate. It is just like the consumer activism against caged eggs, it is exactly the same principle. People stopped buying caged eggs and companies changed.
"We think if those 85% of women making purchase decisions choose from brands with female leaders we will start to see a change.
"Top-down strategies exist in Australia and are really important but are not enough. The shift towards gender equality in Australia is glacial.”
Researching more than 2000 consumer brands when they launched, Femeconomy found 722 met their approval criteria. This number has grown to more than 800 as they continually update their research, tracking the progress of companies in the area of gender equality.
"The reason we care about female leaders is there is lots of research to say it is more profitable,” Ms Bastin-Byrne said.
"So if you go from having zero per cent of women on your board of directors to a 30% share, a typical firm will see a 15% increase in profit.”
Such success is reflected in their own business, with the pair listed this month as finalists in Cosmopolitan magazine's Women of the Year awards in the Entrepreneur category.
The company is now recognised as the largest lead indicator data for gender equality in Australia, and has grown its reach from around 2000 people in their first month of operation to 260,000 people today. They are now trademarked in Australia, the US and UK, and see their footprint scaling to the overseas market in the future.
For Ms Bastin-Byrne, whose background is in marketing, Femeconomy is all about being able to work from home in Pottsville, as a mother of young children.
"It is proving for me that you can live regionally, work remotely and have a bigger professional network than you've ever had in your life,” she said.
Cosmo's Women of the Year winners will be announced on October 26.