Inclusive Representation 101: Support Women in Business

Even before the pandemic, women fulfilled multiple responsibilities at once—running a business and a household, caring for family or a community, and more. Unfortunately, the pandemic has made it even more difficult for women to continue in so many roles. According to and McKinsey & Co., one in four women are considering scaling back their career or leaving the workforce.

A key reason for this change may be that women bear the brunt of domestic duties. In Facebook’s most recent Global State of Small Business Report created with the OECD and the World Bank, 31% of women business leaders surveyed reported spending more time on domestic tasks than before the pandemic.

Women have faced—and defied—setbacks before. (You can always find support and inspiration In the many, many stories on our blog – Women Inspirations, dedicated to helping women realize their inner power.) But they shouldn’t have to advance progress alone to achieve the equality they deserve!

Brand leaders can actually help remove barriers for women by considering how every decision drives inclusive representation. Here are 10 ways to put diversity at the core of your business, courtesy of Michelle Klein/

Support women suppliers
1. Hire women suppliers using databases like those provided by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

2. Offer workshops, professional matchmaking events, investment opportunities, training, and other resources for women business owners.

3. Set aside part of your products—and shelf space—for women-owned businesses. When Brother Vellies creative director Aurora James called on brands to commit 15% of their offerings to Black-owned businesses, several retailers in the U.S. and Canada signed the pledge. Consider making a similar commitment for women-owned businesses.

Examine how your brand represents women
4. Assess whether your creative contributes to harmful stereotypes. For example, are women in your commercials always cooking or doing laundry? You can use marketing bias auditing tools like the Geena Davis Institute’s GDIQ, which analyzes gender representation for brands and media creators. And the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) assesses the sales lift the impact of cultural representation in advertising and media through Cultural Impact Insights Measure (CIIM).

5. Include criteria for gender, race, and sexual orientation in your briefs, scripts, and casting documents. Consider representing intersectional identities that combine these attributes. To gain inspiration about inclusive marketing, register for Forward Together, a Facebook-hosted content series.

6. Hire a diverse team so your creative can be more authentic in how it reaches a broader range of women’s voices.

Amplify historically underrepresented voice
7. Build awareness for women’s interests during cultural moments like Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. Consider creating social media content commemorating women who’ve made an impact.

8. Invite women to share their stories. On International Women’s Day, Pure Leaf’s “No is Beautiful” social media campaign featured videos of women describing how they’ve said no to distractions in order to say yes to opportunities that changed their lives. Our personal contribution, for example, is Women Inspirations.

9. Elevate women’s voices in your product or service.

Collaborate with others working to make a difference
The work of diversity and inclusion doesn’t have to be done in a bubble. Learning from other brand leaders can make a big impact on your own journey.

10. Connect with other leaders also actively working on inclusive representation.

These steps toward greater inclusivity can add up to a sea change for progress. Together, we can eliminate barriers and support women as they seek to accomplish their dreams and serve their communities.

Source: Michelle Klein /

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