So far this holiday season we've told you what books and eco-friendly products to buy, what toys and jewelry not to buy, what to buy for us, and how to Buy for Equality. Are you sick of us telling you what to do with your money yet? Because if you are...too bad, since today's blog is about how to use your buying power to help women and women's causes all around the world.
~V-Day is offering a couple of different V-Gifts this year. As part of their campaign with UNICEF to end sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, they are offering handmade Congolese bags.
You can also send someone a Holiday V-Card and make a gift to V-Day in their honor.
These unique bags are made by women who are participants in UNICEF-supported NGOs that are doing life-saving work on the ground. Eve Ensler bought one of these bags on her recent trip to DRC, and came up with the idea of selling them abroad to help generate funds for the remarkable women she met. Many who survive sexual violence in DRC suffer stigma and discrimination, resulting in limited economic opportunities. The proceeds from the sale of these bags will help these women get back on their feet and support themselves and their children. Local Congolese fabric was used to make these bags. The bags also include a Stop Raping our Greatest Resource campaign button. For just $20, you can make a difference!
A V-Card is the perfect gift for the holidays. One size fits all and you will know that your gift is needed and will be well-used. We'll send a special holiday V-Card letting your recipient know of your gift in their honor. This V-Gift will be used to address the most critical issues of violence against women and will help to empower women and girls around the world. 94 cents of every dollar you give goes straight to ending violence against women and girls. In over 120 countries and all fifty United States, V-Day campaigns and events raise funds and awareness, supporting local shelters and anti-violence groups on the ground.
Global Sistergoods is a sister-owned small business that imports fairly-traded crafts from women artisans from around the world. We provide a living wage to economically disadvantaged women in fragile economies by supporting entrepreneurship, self-reliance and micro enterprise development. Global Sistergoods partners with international non-government organizations (NGOs), governmental trade associations and individual artisans. We sustain traditional craftmaking techniques as we provide high-quality products and educate consumers about women's issues in the countries our artisans live in. Global Sistergoods believes strongly in the value of "women's work."Pretty cool, right? They have bags, jewelry, home decor items, and stuff for kids, made everywhere from Namibia to Thailand. The great thing about a site like this is that you can get things that are unique and handmade and special (and not a generic diamond squiggle from Kay Jewelers) and support women artists and business owners around the world (and not generic chain stores like Kay Jewelers).
~Nest is another organization designed to support businesswomen and artists in the developing world. Here's how it works--Nest provides loans to women around to world "to be used for the purchase of the supplies and materials necessary to begin and/or maintain art or craft-based businesses". The money for the loans comes from a line of products created for Nest by established designers. You can also buy products from the loan recipients on Nest's website, and they use the money that they earn to pay back their loan. There's a business model worth supporting.
~Nest also runs the Shop to Save the World campaign, with the goal of eliminating poverty worldwide. Anyone who sells their own merchandise can join this campaign by choosing an item to be their "Nest item" and agreeing to donate 25% of the profits from the sale of that item to Nest, which they will use for their loan program. So if you sell your own stuff (or you know any super-talented people who do), consider joining up and helping some more super-talented women all over the world.
Of course, not everything you buy has to be the gift that saves the world. But there are so many women out there running cool businesses and making different and fun and interesting and beautiful stuff. Yeah, you could just buy some stupid crap from Kay Jewelers (sorry Kay, whoever you are!), but isn't it worth it to spend a little bit of extra time searching around to find something that's actually special, that will actually mean something to you and to the person who made it and sold it to you? We think so.
So next time you need to buy a gift (and gifts for yourself totally count), pick up a Bust magazine or head to their Girl Wide Web and find a funky woman-owned business like Sin In Linen or Naughty Secretary Club to buy from. Or head over to Etsy and find an independent artist to support. You'll be glad you did. While you're at it, buy a little something for us too for giving you all of these great ideas. You'll feel even more satisfied. Trust us.