Adding a GENDER LENS to Your Holiday Shopping!

If you have not yet seen my recent TED Talk on gender equality you can view it by clicking here. I am in TED recovery mode… I have to write that blog!

More importantly  – Happy Holidays! It is that time of year where we pause to buy special gifts for those important people in our lives.  It has become a tradition for me to give you  ideas for great gifts that also make a difference for women and girls around the world.

With women controlling an estimated $20 trillion globally in annual consumer spending we have a lot of  power in our pocket books. Now let’s use it!  Imagine the possibilities if we used our holiday purchase power to support women owned businesses and to align our purchases to support our values. Below please find my ‘best of’ list to do good while buying great gifts!


Same Sky a trade-not aid- jewelry initiative that employs and empowers HIV positive women in Africa as artisans. Trained as artisans, SAME SKY women earn 15 to 20 times the average Sub Saharan wage to hand crochet beautiful glass bead jewelry. Sold online and in stores like Bergdorf Goodman’s and Neiman Marcus these beautiful pieces are stylish and support a fantastic cause! I just hosted an event for Same Sky here in Park City and it was awesome.  Warning some of these are high-end items but well worth the money.  I just bought a pair of these silver cuff links for my hubby, but sshhhhhh don’t tell.

Plum Alley is a site where you can buy products from female founded companies that represent substance and discipline in creation and beauty. Products for sale on include housewares, jewelry, art and more. Each product they feature is chosen to honor the values Plum Alley believes in, supporting female founded companies. I love this wrap bracelet  in gold for $145. Present for Jacki? Anyone? Anyone?

Rising International promotes ownership of craft-based business for women in impoverished areas. Some of the items Rising promotes are traditional crafts that are passed down through generations, like the baskets made by Ugandan women who have lost their children to AIDS. Others are new craft lines created for the Western market; among them are silk purses woven by widows in Cambodia. Visit their online store to shop by country or items such as housewares, gifts, accessories and apparel. Again a personal favorite is this FREEDOM necklace for $55.  A few lucky friends are getting this from me this year!  is a shopping website exclusively featuring products from women-led companies  and has lots of options for everyone on your holiday list. Shoptimize not only advances women-led businesses but they also give at least 1% of their after-tax profits each year to nonprofit organizations that advance and empower women and girls.

Prosperity Candles empowers women in places of conflict to create independent candle enterprises that enable them to move beyond survival and to thrive. Very affordable gifts for everyone and could make a GREAT corporate gift!

Nomi Network is an organization creating economic opportunities for women at risk and survivors of human trafficking by equipping them with skills to produce goods for the global market place. They sell a variety of products but my fav is a tote bag that says “Buy her bag and not her body.”

Shopping For Change was developed to empower talented artisans, predominantly women living in impoverished communities, with the means to transform their standards of living in economically sustainable ways.  In addition to paying the artisans up front for their creations, shopping for change splits the net proceeds from your purchases in two ways: they fund Community Improvement Projects abroad with a focus on clean water, health care, and education; and afford you, the consumer the ability to direct net proceeds to the nonprofit organization of your choice at checkout.

Vida Dulce   features fairly traded handmade items by the Mayan living in the Guatemalan Highlands. A portion of proceeds benefits Pueblo A Pueblo, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to better and empower the lives of Mayans living in the Guatemalan Highlands.

Gifts That Give is a shopping site where you can choose from over 100 upscale brands with $1 of every $5 dollars going to any cause of your choice. This is a for-profit company that works with the non-profit community to help drive revenue on behalf of customer causes.


If the above is not enough…..

This holiday catalog put together by 85Broads and Plum Alley is a shopping resource guide of all women owned businesses.

Check out this article in Forbes “Bill and Melinda Gates Propose the Five Most Impactful Charities for Holiday Giving” for their list of charities.

Visit and see their market place for a huge list of women owned businesses.

You can also visit my Pinterest page for more women owned businesses, and books written by women.

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