Around the world, entrepreneurs who identify as women are struggling to support themselves and their families in the face of COVID-19. They are more likely to lose their jobs than men, and are globally underpaid, according to UN Women.
And yet, gender equality is key to economic development. A 2018 report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) showed that women’s economic empowerment boosts productivity and reduces income inequality. Policies that support women in the workforce lead to increased GDP and reduce inequalities in other sectors, too, such as education and health care.
This International Women’s Day, make an effort to support women entrepreneurs who are supporting families and propping up economies, but who are not given the support they need to be successful.
To get you started, we've rounded up 10 women-owned businesses from across the globe that are inclusive, ethical, and sustainable.
1. Social Goods (New York)
Sisters Lisa and Kate Sokolov launched Social Goods in 2019 to allow conscious consumers to support the non-profit organizations and social causes they care about with their purchases. They hope Social Goods serves as an entry point for their customers, a way to discover nonprofits working on the causes that matter most to them. Every item on the site includes a non-profit donation and, since launch, they’ve donated to more than 50 nonprofits, including Planned Parenthood of Greater New York, WIN NYC, and more.
2. Paloma (Barcelona)
Paloma Lanna and Tana Latorre founded Paloma Wool as a project centered around “the act of getting dressed.” Based in Barcelona, the label produces tops, bottoms, dresses, accessories, and swimwear, with a focus on sustainability. Its website acknowledges the shortcomings of the fashion industry and attempts to overcome them by focusing on small-batch, local production and ethical printing methods to change consumer habits.
3. Brother Vellies (New York)
Started by Toronto-native Aurora James, Brother Vellies produces shoes, handbags, and small leather goods through the practice of traditional African design techniques. Based in New York City, its products come from around the globe — including South Africa, Ethiopia, Haiti, and Italy — and honors local design processes.
4. Nöl Collective (Palestine)
Nöl Collective infuses its products with its politics, affecting how clothes and accessories are designed, produced, and purchased. Partnering directly with women's cooperatives, family-run sewing workshops, and artisans, Nöl focuses on local production in Palestine to honor textile traditions and reduce its carbon footprint. Its intersectional and feminist framework addresses the bond between women and clothing to counter the narrative that fashion is frivolous.
5. Sequence (El Salvador)
Founder Ariela Suster was born and raised in El Salvador during the country’s civil war, witnessing an incredible amount of violence. She started Sequence with two local artisans, Oscar Bautista and Natali Orellana, to disrupt the cycle of violence that overtakes youth in her country. Through the sale of every bracelet or dog leash, to name a couple of products, Sequence is able to train and employ local artisans and at-risk youth to lead to greater personal and professional development.
6. Bat Me Cosmetics (Los Angeles)
Founder Jayla Roxx showcases vegan and cruelty-free products for everyday wear through her makeup line Bat Me Cosmetics. Every product is affordable and inclusive — embracing every gender, race, and religion — and Roxx donates a portion of her profits to the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
7. Hiptipico (Panajachel)
After living in Panajachel, Guatemala, Hiptipico founder Alyssa McGarry began working with local Mayan artisans to showcase their handmade creations. The brand seeks to share the beauty of Mayan tradition and culture with the world without mass-producing clothing and accessories. Each product is ethically-sourced and handmade, ensuring a unique result every time.
8. Suki Suki Naturals (Johannesburg)
Founder Linda Gieskes-Mwamba’s passion for beauty and skincare started when she could not find any natural products to grow her treated hair out into an afro, leading her to develop Miraculous Oil, Suki Suki’s most popular product. All products are made in Johannesburg, South Africa with a focus on natural, African ingredients and remedies made without the use of harsh chemicals.
9. Neon Cactus Vintage (Las Vegas)
Neon Cactus Vintage is a queer- and Black-owned store in Las Vegas, Nevada, specializing in colorful vintage clothing and handmade stained glass. Its Etsy shop showcases vibrant, stained glass earrings and home decor while its brick-and-mortar business features other items.
10. Bee’s Wrap (Vermont)
Founded by Sarah Kaeck, Bee’s Wrap started with a question: How could we eliminate plastics in our kitchen in favor of a healthier, more sustainable way to store our food? By infusing organic cotton with beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin, Kaeck created a washable, reusable, and compostable alternative to plastic wrap.
Disclosure: Bee’s Wrap is a Global Citizen Rewards partner.