Mother’s Day: The Gift Edit

Today is International Women’s Day, a global celebration to recognise the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Marked annually on March 8th, International Women’s Day (IWD) is one of the most important days of the year to not only celebrate women’s achievements but to raise awareness of gender and equality issues and to champion a more equal world. The theme of this year’s celebration – Choose to Challenge- is asking us all, women and men, to challenge the everyday biases, discrimination and inequality that still exists.

Its now well understood that when women are empowered and treated equally, the positive implications on the whole of society is huge. When more women work, economies grow. When a country gives all its children access to secondary education, they cut their risk of war in half and for each additional year of school a girl completes, there’s a reduction in both infant mortality and child marriage rates. Women who are financially empowered are healthier, more productive members of society and yet, women are more likely to be unemployed than men, are paid less than men and bear disproportionate responsibility for unpaid care and domestic work. Add to this the sad reality that worldwide, 35% of women between 15-49 years of age have experienced physical and/or sexual violence, its clear that there is still work to be done.

Thankfully there are enterprises who are choosing to challenge gender inequality everyday through successful businesses and beautiful products. If you’re looking for a gift for Mother’s Day (or any other day of the year), to show the women in your life how much they mean, here’s a round up of beautiful items, doing beautiful things for womenkind.

Divine Chocolate

Divine Chocolate, the only Fairtrade chocolate company co-owned by cocoa farmers, is committed to doing business differently. Of the 100,000 Kuapa Kokoo farmers who co-own the company, more than a third are women and for more than two decades, Divine Chocolate and Kuapa Kokoo, both led by women, have supported women in cocoa farming to develop the skills and confidence to grow better cocoa, build better communities, and thrive in business.

The chocolate, as the name would suggest, is seriously good, divine even. Mouth-watering flavour combinations like raspberry, toffee and sea salt, classic organic dark, milk and white chocolate, gift hampers, baking ingredients and drinking chocolate means an almost endless amount of choice for a chocolatey treat, all to be enjoyed in the knowledge that women in the cocoa supply chain are empowered and uplifted.

Constellation Necklace by Able

Nashville based lifestyle company, Able, staffed 95% by women, started their story with scarves. “In Ethiopia we met women coming out of the commercial sex industry who asked us for help finding jobs. We trained them to make scarves and after selling over 4,000 of them in 2 months, we knew we were onto something. People understood that if you’re committed to ending poverty, you must create jobs, and do so for women.”

Today, Able is challenging the culture of the fashion industry by creating transformative opportunities for women, through its lifestyle brand and fashion lines. Product collections include leather bags, clothes, shoes, and jewellery – like the stunning constellation range, that is made in-house in Nashville. Leather goods, clothes, and shoes are made by partners in Ethiopia, Mexico, Brazil, and India, and all share the same values and commitment to delivering on the promise of a fashion brand that employs and empowers women as a solution to end poverty.

Seasonal Hand tied bouquet by Bread and Roses

Bread & Roses, an award-winning social enterprise, based in the UK are on a mission to help women from refugee backgrounds to flourish. Launched in 2016, its floristry training programme aims to help women from refugee backgrounds by tackling the barriers they might face in trying to rebuild their lives in the UK. Women are often more unlikely to find formal work and without a network of support might struggle to develop English language skills -something addressed through Bread and Roses’ English curriculum programme. Learning a new skill like floristry can help to build confidence, forge friendships and help women to access other recommended support services to cope with trauma they may have been experienced.

Graphic Tees by Origin

Devon based Origin Africa was founded by Tom and Alice after spending many years living and working on the continent. Through their network of entrepreneurs in Africa and the UK based, social enterprise team, they have successfully grown their graphic tee brand, which includes celeb favourite, the Wink Tee.

T-shirts are 100% organic cotton and printed using vegan approved, water-based dyes. 100% of profits go toward funding community driven, needs based projects in Sub-Saharan Africa to establish and grow social businesses that tackle key issues like child health through sanitation and female empowerment through skills training and education,

Luminary Bakery

London based Luminary Bakery is using the power of baking to tackle poverty, exclusion and trauma in the UK’s capital. With locations in Hackney and Camden, the bakeries offer opportunities for women who have experienced social and economic disadvantage to build a future for themselves, providing a safe and professional environment to grow. Offering courses, work experience and paid employment in the bakery, baking is the tool used to take women who have suffered from lack of opportunity, exclusion and even violence, on a journey to employability and entrepreneurship – equipping them with transferable skills for the working world.

With a irresistible offering of show stopping cakes and letterbox treats, available for delivery throughout the UK, gorgeous merch and gift voucher options, there’s no sweeter or tastier way to show the sisterhood some love.

At times it can feel like there’s a long road ahead to achieving true equality, but on this International Women’s Day, I’m choosing to challenge the thought that we as individuals cannot affect change. We can. Even if its something as small as buying a cake from an amazing bakery. So with the world slowly (and hopefully) beginning to open up again, I’d love to hear about female led businesses, shops, restaurants or brands to add to my “must visit” and “must try” lists so please drop them in the comments below.

For now Happy International Women’s Day and if you’ll be celebrating Mothers Day on Sunday, here’s wishing you a wonderful one.

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