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Empowering Women in Business Can Lift the World Out of Poverty

By Editorial Staff

Who runs the world… GIRLS! You got that right! Let’s give a round of applause for the lovely women in business out there that have infiltrated a male-dominated territory. *Cue applause* Women have been stuck behind an ideology that “business talk” is not for them. A twisted view that women are more interested in clothing and beauty rather than crunching numbers while growing a business. News flash, it is 2020! Women around the world are climbing the ladder and turning heads.

How do Women Represent in the Business World?

The world of work has pointed out some unbalanced, yet real statistics about women in business. 

  • Gender differences in law negatively affect women and their ability to grow
  • Only 5% of Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs, even less are women of color
  • In 40% of economies, women’s entrepreneurial activity is half of less than half than that of men’s
  • 65% of men have access to financial institutions, while only 58% of women worldwide do
  • Women remain less likely to participate in the labor market than men around the world

It’s important to also note that BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ women are even more disproportionately affected by gender and race bias in the business world. While many statistics for women are unfair, white cisgender women still hold privilege over indigenous women, women of color, and genderqueer/nonbinary women. These statistics point to the need for women to be EMPOWERED. With some downright respect, women in business are more eager to put themselves out there. 

One of the first success stories of a businesswoman in America is that of the incomparable  Madame C. J. Walker. An activist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur, Madame Walker was born on a cotton plantation in 1867. She managed to escape cruel life on the plantation through a short marriage, after which she joined her four brothers working as barbers.

Soon after, Madame Walker began suffering a scalp ailment that caused severe hair loss. In a world where hair care was meant only for white women, Walker experimented with homemade remedies and those of fellow Black entrepreneur Annie Malone to eventually create Madame Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower. She traveled the South, selling her product and garnering massive success until she eventually built a factory, hair & manicure salon, and training school in Indianapolis.

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Self Made New Edition I've been waiting until today to share this news! The 2020 edition of "On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker" — renamed "Self Made" to tie in with the Netflix series — is now available. And with Octavia Spencer — who captures Madam Walker’s strength, courage and determination — on the cover, I predict this limited edition will become a collector’s item. Those of you who've been on this journey with me, know that "On Her Own Ground" is the fact-based version of Madam Walker's life and the "inspiration for" the fictionalized four-part Netflix series. I'm very excited about the audiobook I recorded a few weeks ago! It was a joy to revisit the words I wrote in 2001. It also is a bit sobering to realize how many of the social, political, gender and racial issues that Madam Walker and other African Americans faced in the early 1900s remain unresolved a century after her death. You can order the paperback and the audiobook at IndieBound, Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Indie Bound https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781982126674 Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/2W0wsXx Amazon Audio Book https://amzn.to/3cCZ5Qy Amazon Paperback https://amzn.to/2TC9jZX #Selfmadenetflix @strongblacklead #madamcjwalker #madamecjwalker @madamwalkerlegacycenter

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Madame C. J. Walker was one of the first female self-made millionaires. From her own ingenuity and creative marketing strategies, she rose to prominence in a market that did not cater to nor represent Black women. American business society today owes a lot to this self-made success. Madame C. J. Walker was an amazing woman whose lifetime and legacy you can read about and even watch on Netflix.

If you have never heard the story of how Spanx was founded, buckle up. The company Spanx represents a true testament of female grit, strength, and the ability to rise above adversity with a growth attitude. Sara Blakely began the industry of women’s shapewear, by cutting a pair of pantyhose to solve a wardrobe problem she was facing. 20 years ago, Sara began her company in her NYC apartment, with no fashion or business experience, but she had a dream. A dream to grow this business to the clouds, while supporting female self-love along the way. Sara comments, “I believe when women come together, magical things happen.”

A little empowerment by investors and fellow business people helped her grow her company to the level it is today and become the youngest self-made female billionaire at that time. In 2006, Blakely also launched the Spanx Foundation to educate and empower women entrepreneurs. Sara Blakely is a prime example of what empowerment does to women in business.

Support women in business

So… how can we as consumers, brands, and influencers support women in business of all races and sexualities? 

1. First and foremost, do your RESEARCH!

As digital consumers who seemed to be glued to our phones, we can do some good with downtime. It is essential to research female-led brands and educate yourselves on the mission and purpose of the brand. With knowledge comes power. Therefore, the more influencers know about specific brands and direct messages, the stronger they can reiterate the message and inspiration to their followers. Here are a couple of female-led brands I’ll bet you weren’t aware of. 

NameBusinessWhat is it?
Beatrice DixonThe Honey PotNatural, plant-based feminine care products
Tia MowryAnserSupplements for diverse women, especially mothers
Lea Von BidderAvaA fertility tracking bracelet that supports females and educates them on ovulation cycles to help them with the conception process
Vicky TsaiTatchaA luxe skin care line that shares Japanese female beauty secrets with ladies around the world

2. Show your support.

Reach out to these entrepreneurs and provide feedback. Things are ever-changing, and you can show your support to a female entrepreneur by recommending changes or advancements to their brand. This shows that consumers or influencers are invested in seeing this female-led brand succeed. Constant improvement will empower women in business to continue to grow. 

3. Influencers can push for collaboration.

What better person to show support than an influencer? Influencers hold a captive audience, therefore they should continue to use their platform for some good. Women in business simply need a platform to share their ideas, with the help of those who are professionals in all socials. 

A strong example of a successful brand and women in business partnerships points us to Oprah Winfrey and Apple’s partnership. Let’s be frank, Oprah Winfrey is never going out of style. Apple realized that. Apple signed a contract with Oprah Winfrey to promote its Apple streaming services. Oprah created personal content to promote these services. This partnership is so successful because of the conversational charm of Winfrey, and her ability to connect with audiences across many generations. A successful collaboration should focus on the attributes of the female entrepreneur that they are partnering with. The characteristics must match!

An influencer such as Oprah, who promotes self-discovery and open heart, can successfully promote Apple’s new style of online streaming. Oprah is the voice of Apple and its streaming products. Therefore, the actions and statements of Oprah Winfrey will stick with the audience more than any advertisements. People need to focus on not only the attributes of these female entrepreneurs but especially on how they deliver their messages.

Oprah Winfrey has been known to be an open book, as she shares personal stories with her audience. In return, this promotes Apple streaming services as a comfortable environment where people can feel free to watch what they are passionate about. With no judgment. Leave it to Oprah, to show us how it’s done!  

Another female powerhouse, Martha Stewart partnered with Uber to promote the luxurious version of Uber, Uber Black. Martha Stewart first caught Uber’s attention by posting about her terrible first ride with the company. Uber’s crisis plan was flawless! Uber recognized an opportunity to partner with women in business, as they partnered with her to reveal the more luxurious aspect of rides.

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You work hard. You deserve it.

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Martha Stewart is known to be a homemaker, therefore she lives her life in a comfortable environment. Uber’s success in this partnership points to emphasizing the comfortable nature of Martha’s endeavors. Therefore, if Martha Stewart is comfortable, so will you! The success in this collaboration comes from Uber’s need to reach Martha Stewart’s audience. Therefore, people should pay more attention to the target audience that their female entrepreneur focuses on. Uber has been able to target those who support Martha Stewart, a generation that Uber has not been as successful in. 

All in all, there are some pretty strong women in business these days. More importantly, empowering women in business promotes women’s rights and gender equality. Women who are successful in igniting the economy and closing gender gaps helps the world come out of poverty, due to the increased influx of money that these females are cashing in. Therefore, if you support female businesswomen, you are helping this country rise out of poverty. I encourage you to support women in business. This world needs more love than we think, therefore- show some love where love is due. Round of applause for these amazing women in business!

This article was written by Jessica Paolucci

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