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  • Writer's pictureHolly Corbett

How To Invest In Women On International Women’s Day And Every Day


Woman sitting at table putting change into a white piggy bank
The United Nation theme for International Women's Day 2024 is "Invest in women: Accelerate progress." GETTY

International Women’s Day was created to celebrate women’s achievements and to push for gender equity, which at our current rate of progress is still more than 130 years away. It falls on March 8th, and the United Nation theme for 2024 is "Invest in women: Accelerate progress."


A holiday is nice, but real action steps are vital for driving equity. “Real progress necessitates moving beyond superficial gestures like cupcake distributions, banner decorations, and themed poses towards making substantial, long-term investments,” says Hira Ali, CEO of Advancing Your Potential and author of Her Allies: A Practical Toolkit To Help Men Lead Through Advocacy. “Women are increasingly frustrated, demanding more than just an annual celebration. This year, the UN Women's theme emphasizes investing in women for accelerated progress.”


Financial empowerment is linked to gender equity because it gives people who identify as women the ability to control their future across different aspects of their lives. It’s also good for the GDP: Closing gender gaps in employment, for example, would lead to a 20% boost in GDP per capita. A large part of gender inequities are related to the fact that women have faced greater barriers than men when it comes to accumulating wealth.

If you’re looking to drive more meaningful and sustainable change on International Women’s Day and every day, here are just a few ways to get started.


Invest In Closing the Gender And Racial Wage Gap For Good

The gender and racial wage gap can cost women up to $1 million over the course of a 40-year career. The motherhood penalty means that mothers’ wages decrease an average of 4% for each child they have, while fathers’ wages increase 6% for each child. (Gender norms and stereotypes linked to expectations that women be the primary caregivers also impacts the number of women in the workforce and the economy at large). Closing the wage gap could help boost the world’s economy by $7 trillion.


“The wage gap is a useful measure because so many sources of inequality show up in that number—from paying someone less for the same job to the disproportionate impacts of caregiving to the fact that the occupations where women are overrepresented tend to be paid less simply because we undervalue women's work, full stop,” Emily Martin, VP for education and workplace justice at the National Women’s Law Center, told me in a previous Forbes article. “Dozens of studies show that when you control for all the factors that should be relevant to the wage gap, such as occupation, education, experience level, and hours worked, we still see consistent wage gaps where men are being paid more than women.” In fact, a gender and racial wage gap persists in 94% of occupations.

Leaders have the power to identify the pay gaps within their organizations and then close them, so there is no need to wait another 131 years. Closing the wage gap can also help companies better attract and retain top talent.


Invest In And Support Women-Owned Businesses

An obvious way to invest in women is to support and direct more funding to women-owned businesses. The rate of women opening businesses in the U.S. has increased 114% in the last 20 years, with women of color opening businesses at higher rates. Women-owned businesses account for one-third of businesses worldwide.


On the flip side, women founders receive less than 3% of VC funding. “Redirect funding to women-owned businesses and engage in "gender lens investing," which is all about investing in organizations that promote gender equality and have a social impact,” says Ali.


Where you spend your money matters, so be intentional about supporting women-owned businesses and companies focused on gender equity. One app that makes it easier to spend in line with your values and to support companies committed to advancing gender equity is Gender Fair.


Invest In Funding Nonprofits Focused On Women and Girls

Charitable giving to nonprofits serving women and girls represents less than 2% of giving in the U.S. Organizations focused on causes such as reproductive rights and reproductive health, advancing women into leadership, and offering support to those experiencing gender-based violence are not women’s issues; they are human issues.

There is an enormous need to support women and girls in crisis due to man-made conflicts and those who bear the aftermath of natural disasters. To name a few: The violence in Palestine, Israel, Yemen, Sudan, Congo, and Ukraine.


“Most organizations say, ‘we are supporting women,’ but they're not saying anything about these wars,” says Ali. “They have no stance whatsoever, so the least they can do is invest in organizations [that support women in areas where war is happening]. Look at organizations such as UN Crisis Relief, Women for Women International and other nonprofits. Let's not exclude women from our spaces and conversations based on our biases and what we perceive as worthy of attention. Let's hold space for all women equally. Let's prioritize the safety and liberation of every woman, leaving no excuse to justify any form of violence against women everywhere.”


*Article originally published in Forbes here.


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