Africa has seen some incredible wins for gender equality in the last few years, including boosting women’s leadership, being home to the country with the most women in politics in the world, and the banning of Female Genital Mutilation in several nations.
Over the years the continent has slowly, yet steadily lifted women towards a place where they are able to access the same opportunities as men. Unfortunately when the pandemic hit, most of the gains towards gender equality in Africa and around the world took a major step backwards.
Women everywhere deserve equality and the right to be empowered, yet while women in Africa are known for hard work and resilience, they also face unbelievable injustices that leave them far behind many their counterparts who are already moving towards pandemic recovery, development, economic growth, education and more.
Getting Africa back on track to achieving gender equality means supporting women every step of the way, and nobody prioritises the needs of women, better than other women. Wherever they see the opportunity, women will not hesitate to make sure that others are not left behind. This is something that we’re seeing increasingly in businesses, where women-led enterprises are leading the way in prioritising gender equality.
But how can you, scrolling through this article, help to change this situation and make sure that Africa’s women are prioritised? Well, one of the answers is — and you won’t believe it when we tell you — online shopping.
You read that right, shopping. First, we urge you to take a few important actions to call for gender and generation equality in Africa right here, and once you’ve done that, you can add a few things to your shopping list that are aimed at empowering women in Africa.
We’ve compiled a list of businesses you can purchase from who are not only contributing to their economies, but prioritising female empowerment in Africa with every sale made. Add one or more of these seven things to your cart to help support gender equality on the African continent.
Your cup of joe could not only perk you up and get you ready for the day, but it could also help to support women farmers in Africa.
Purchasing coffee from Burundi-based JNP Coffee is a great way to help empower women through skills development, and make sure that they are fairly paid for their expertise.
Founded by Jeanine Niyonzima-Aroian, JNP Coffee pays the women who produce the coffee that they source directly, to make sure that they receive the payment that they deserve, and further supports organizations in Burundi that aim to teach women financial literacy and leadership skills.
You can learn more about them and request to sample their coffee here.
Women empowerment and dessert? Count us in. Mon Choco is a fairtrade chocolate business that has a delicious selection of artisanal chocolate bars and candies for you to choose from. They even sell hot chocolate and chocolate spreads.
The chocolate the company uses is sourced directly from raw cacao beans sourced exclusively from West African producers, most of whom are women, and as the business forms part of the fairtrade scheme, supporting fairtrade plantations in West Africa, the producers receive exactly what they deserve. More than that, Mon Choco employs mostly women across all divisions of production, plus they believe in sustainability and the chocolate packaging is made with recycled paper.
Get your sweet treats from Mon Choco here.
3. Buy False Eyelashes and End Period Poverty
Flutter by LKG
Not only is South African TV and Radio Personality, Lerato Kganyago making sure that every girl has access to affordable sanitary pads, but she’s making sure that they look good too, thanks to her signature brand of false eyelashes.
The businesses began with the sale of pads as Kganyago’s answer to period poverty in South Africa, when it launched in April 2020 she announced that the first batch of pads were exclusively for young women and girls in rural areas and would be free of charge.
Since then the brand has grown to include false eyelashes, and the sale of all products from Flutter by LKG go towards providing girls in South Africa with access to sanitary products.
If you’re in South Africa you can purchase Flutter by LKG sanitary pads at most grocery stores and pharmacies, and if you’d like to support the business from the comfort of your home from wherever you are in the world, you can purchase a set of false lashes here.
4. Jewelry and Homeware
Everything about South African-based social enterprise, Asande, is about uplifting women across Africa. Every piece they sell goes towards empowering African women, each product has been designed or made by women who are aiming to create a sustainable income for their families.
The business sells beautiful gold and silver jewelry pieces in varying styles to cater to different tastes. You can also add homeware pieces such as embroidered cushions, macrame coasters, and woven baskets to your cart, all from the same store.
Their latest initiative, War Against Rape, is one that aims to help raise awareness on the rape crisis on the continent. They’re selling limited edition products, a tote bag and a necklace, in order to raise funds for rape crisis centres in South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Get shopping here.
5. Menstrual Cups
If you’re a person who menstruates and you’re looking for a sustainable sanitary product, give ElleCup’s menstrual cups a try. With each ElleCup that’s purchased, the company donates one to a woman or girl in need in some of Africa’s most vulnerable regions.
The company also takes direct donations on a once off or monthly basis. They also run drives in South African schools that aim to support teachers with training on educating children about sustainable menstrual hygiene management.
Purchase a cup, donate or learn more about ElleCup here.
6. Meal Kit Deliveries
South Africa’s meal-kit delivery service, UCOOK, is not only getting citizens into the kitchen, but the service is also empowering women in sustainable farming.
The company founded a sustainable farming initiative. Khulisa Amafama (which translates to “grow farmers”) supports emerging farmers in Cape Town’s low-income Cape Flats area, with a large number of those benefiting from the initiative being women. This was founded in partnership with social organisations, Abalimi Bezekhaya and the Philippi Economic Development Initiative.
Some of the ingredients in each UCOOK meal-kit come from this sustainable farming initiative, and so purchasing the service, if you’re a South African citizen, contributes to the sustainable farmers. You can also donate directly to help fund the initiative here.
7. Hand Cream
The Body Shop
Every time you purchase products from The Body Shop, you are helping to change the lives of women around the world, whether that’s funding financial independence for women in Ghana, or education opportunities for girls in Brazil and Indonesia.
For the month of August, which is South Africa’s Women’s Month, The Body Shop South Africa is collaborating with 18twenty8, a non-profit organisation on a campaign called #NOTNEXT. The purpose of this campaign is to fight GBV in the country by providing support groups and counselling for those who’ve experienced violence, teaching boys and men to champion girls’ and women’s safety, and raising awareness on the severity of GBV in the country.
Each hand care product purchased from The Body Shop, a portion of the proceeds will go towards funding the #NOTNEXT campaign. Add yours to your shopping cart here.
You can join the Global Citizen Live campaign to defeat poverty and demand equity by taking action here, and become part of a movement powered by citizens around the world who are taking action together with governments, corporations, and philanthropists to make change.