As we near the end of Women’s History Month, an annual tradition that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society, we stand prepared to continue the work and strive to make an impact for progress. There’s so much more we can do beyond recognizing phenomenal political, cultural, social and economic achievements and contributions by women in history, the incredible women in our own lives and those that inspire us around the world. Watch the short video above about some of the amazing women who have inspired many of the colleagues on our Bing Ads team.
The future is female
The United Nations declared the theme for International Women’s Day 2019 to be “Better the Balance, Better the World.”
This theme has grown into an annual campaign to drive gender balance around the world. This is a call-to-action for gender balance across all segments of society: boardrooms, government, media coverage, sports coverage, gender balance in wealth, gender balanced employees and so much more. Gender balance is essential for businesses, economies and communities to thrive. Balance is not a women’s issue, it’s a human issue and it’s a business issue. #BalanceforBetter
The business case for inclusion
From a business standpoint, brands must prioritize how they engage with women:
- It’s a huge miss not to fully engage female consumers in marketing, as women were estimated to control about $40 trillion in consumer spending worldwide for 2018.
- In fact, Kantar Research shared that “Financial services firms in the United States are failing to foster relationships with women, missing out on an estimated $782 billion in investable assets as a result."
- According to Unilever, realistic portrayals of females in ads increase purchase intent among all consumers by more than 26%.
2018 was a powerful year for women, generating movements that motivated and united friends, colleagues and communities to think, act and be more gender inclusive. Some notable progress has been made in the past 12 months around the world:
- 601 women ran for office in the US.
- There are more women leaders of government and heads of state than ever before.
- More girls are in school than ever, and female literacy rates have increased in most countries.
- More women in more countries have access to reproductive health services, and access to contraception.
That’s good news, but there’s more work to be done. Are you ready to gasp? According to the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Gender Gap Report
, the gender gap is widening. In fact, things are moving backwards. This report predicts that it will take at least 108 years to close the global gender gap. The most challenging gaps include political and economic empowerment.
Nine things you can do to make an impact
If you feel overwhelmed about where to begin, here are some ideas to kickstart your journey:
- Authentically engage women in the marketing of your brand, product or service.
- Hire more women, promote them into leadership positions and ensure they’re recognized and compensated equally.
- Speak up and advocate for change. When you see something that can be improved, or behavior that’s a barrier for equity, speak up and demand change.
- Become an activist and lobby for change in your community or organization.
- Get educated and help educate. Go back to school or support another woman’s schooling to get her on the path of economic stability.
- Read Afdhel Aziz’s inspiring book "Good is the New Cool."
- Support women-owned businesses. Seek out and become a customer of businesses in your area and online.
- Train to be a lawmaker or policy maker.
- Become aware of unconscious bias. Search Bing to learn about this topic.
Truly engaging women and creating an inclusive marketing strategy is good for business. Brands that don’t understand this, or don’t participate, will be left behind.
Don't mind the gap—close it.
This month isn’t just about celebrating women in history — it’s about looking to the future. There’s progress to made so let’s work together — men and women alike — to be the force that drives positive change. Let’s get involved and stay involved. Together, we can be powerful and effective in making the lives of women and girls better. We need each of us to create equity and the inclusive world we want to live in.