To mark International Women’s Day, we’re bigging up brands that support the sisterhood. The following six companies prove that business and being a beautiful, giving human can go hand in hand…

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Did you know that, as estimated by the World Economic Forum, the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186? If anyone ever tries to tell you that International Women’s Day  (IWD) isn’t needed, I suggest throwing this one in there for one- waiting 169 years to be on an even playing field with men isn’t something I’m up for, and the fact that the IWD 2017 campaign theme is #BeBoldForChange speaks of the urgency of the need for a more inclusive world. From fighting against gender based violence to supporting women’s education, achievement and leadership, the following brands are taking the bull by the horns in terms of empowering women and catalyzing change.


Avon  has its roots in female entrepreneurship; founded in 1886, there are currently over six million female Avon representatives working globally, and the fact that women could essentially runs their own Avon business before they had the right to vote in the US puts the company’s forward thinking into perspective.

The Avon Foundation for Women has been driving scientific, educational and humanitarian work to improve the lives of women and girls all over the world for over 60 years, and this year the focus is firmly on domestic violence, and the prevention of it. An Avon funded research study in partnership with domestic violence charity Refuge  particularly lifts a lid on the issue of coercive control in the UK, with the Define The Line report revealing that 56% of young adults have experienced controlling behaviours from a partner, and that girls are affected to a greater extent than boys (63% to 34%). The focus groups, one-on-one interviews and online survey of 500 16-21 year olds exposed that young people feel that emotional abuse is normalised in society and the media, and 84% of female respondents reported that they’d feel at fault if they were subject to coercive control.

All in all the statistics paint a worrying picture, particularly considering that, according to Refuge, one in four women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime. As part of Avon’s commitment to fighting gender based violence and abuse, the company will this year make the single largest global donation to date to charities supporting female victims, a sum of just under £2 million, of which £250,000 will be donated to Refuge in the UK.

British designer, Tabitha Webb, has also teamed up with Avon to create a flower and inspirational quote embossed tote bag that will retail until 22nd March for £10, with £3 of each purchase donated to Refuge and Women’s Aid. Think of it as a bag for life in every sense of the world and buy yours here .


In line with #BeBoldForChange,  L’Occitane  is this year partnering with UN Women to support the Fund for Gender Equality, and in particular women’s economic and political empowerment. The L’Occitane Foundation has supported 120 programs in 80 countries since its founding in 2009, and the 2017 initiative will fund a further 24 programmes, reaching 325,000 women, 53% of whom are based in fragile areas of the world, and 43% of whom come from low income countries. To support the cause, 100% of profits from the L’Occitane Shea Solidarity Balm will go directly to the UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality. To find out more and to buy the balm for yourself when it launches, check out  L’Occitane’s website .

Bobbi Brown

Bobbi Brown’s Pretty Powerful initiative is renowned for its transformational fund raising and support, and this year the company will be donating to the charity  Smart Works  in the UK. A genius concept that provides women with styling advice, clothes and job interview training to women in need, Smart Works, like Bobbi Brown from the very beginning, believes that instilling confidence by way of kindness and resources is the cornerstone to female achievement. If you’re a Londoner, head along to  Psycle  today, as the boutique spinning space has teamed up with Bobbi Brown  to raise money for Smart Works. You’ll be invited to donate money to the Pretty Powerful fund in every class throughout the day, and as a thank you a Bobbi Brown pro makeup artist will be on hand to give you a touch up pre-work, during your lunch hour or before an evening out. In short, it’s feelgood in every way possible.


As if natural, organic, vegan and cruelty free yet punchy lipstick weren’t appealing enough,  Axiology  founder Ericka Rodriguez is committed to supporting women in business. Packaging and lipstick boxes are sourced from a woman-owned recycled paper boutique in Bali, and having discovered it Ericka now won’t work with anyone else. The business provides a healthy work environment and opportunities for local women, plus the paper used is sourced from all over the island, helping to reduce rubbish as the population and tourism industry grow. There’s a lot more to this particular lipstick than meets the eye.


If you’re in need of a new bronzer for spring, you can’t do better than  bagsy Glow and Inspire Bronzed Brilliance , £20, with packaging and concept crafter by fashion designer Savannah Miller and 15% of each sale going to  Women for Women International . The charity has helped over 447,000 women living in situations of conflict and war zones since its founding in 1993, and with the current surging levels of violence against women in countries affected by war, the need for the charity’s programs has never been greater. From teaching women practical, vocational and business skills to educating both women and men about women’s rights in order to break down prejudices, Women for Women International does all in its power to help women to reach their potential. A healthy glow never went amiss, and the quote engraved on the multi-tonal powder will remind you where your money’s going.


You have to hand it to Dove  for its commitment to empowering women through its regular campaigns over the years, from the current  #MyBeautyMySay  concept, which encourages women to define their story and appearance on their own terms, rather than accept others’ judgements, to the long-running  Self-Esteem Project , which fosters confidence and raises awareness of mental health and body image issues amongst young people, and girls in particular. With parent, teacher and mentor resources available online, plus a partnership with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, Dove has been getting the message across consistently for quite some time, that message being that nothing should stand in the way of girls and women reaching their potential. The company’s recent ‘Alternative Facts’ deodorant campaign  in the UK was a particular highlight- a not so subtle takedown of the Trump Administration’s truth fiddling proved that the team at the British HQ are sharper than ever and prepared to take a stand against murky politics, even if it was simply a playful jab, as the brand claimed. We can’t wait to see what they’ve got up their sleeves next…

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