It’s clear now that the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are disproportionately impacting women and will continue to do so for some time.
An article recently shared on Women’s Agenda highlighted the alarming lack of support for female-dominated industries – such as beauty therapies and personal care – in the Victorian Government’s roadmap to recovery.
Recent unemployment figures showed that since the pandemic, 457,500 women have lost work compared to 380,700 men. Working in the frontline and most vulnerable sectors, women might be seen as the ‘canary in the coalmine’ for the coming economic tsunami.
While these impacts alone should be reason enough to act, we also know that when women suffer economically, families, generations and entire communities are affected. Conversely, when we support women to achieve a sustainable income, a positive ripple effect is felt throughout the population, far beyond their own homes. If we act now, and act smart, we can help protect thousands of Australian women and their families from the worst consequences of the pandemic economic crisis and help create a new, more inclusive economy.
Not so long ago, Wiradjuri woman Jo-Ann Wolles was trying to support her family with a part-time job as a chef while also acting as primary carer for her children – one of whom has special needs – and supporting a family member with mental illness.
Juggling her work commitments and caring responsibilities, her situation would feel familiar to many Australian women.
But many Australian women will never experience the thrill (and relief) of succeeding in their own small business, and having their custom-made products stocked in a high-profile national retail chain.
That’s what’s just happened for Jo-Ann, with three Indigenous tea blends she created now on the shelves in T2 stores nationwide – reaching over 100,000 customers each week and millions more via their online presence.
This is just one of many impressive success stories that we have had the privilege of supporting at Global Sisters, a not for profit organisation I founded in 2013 to help women like Jo-Ann, overcome the barriers they face and achieve financial independence and sustainable business ownership.
The pandemic has forced a re-think of how and where we work in traditional roles, and every industry has a different story to tell. When COVID restrictions were first introduced on the 23 March we were inundated with hundreds of enquiries from women wanting support.
We were in a fortunate position to be close to completing a digital transformation of our ‘roadmap’ of business education, incubate and accelerate programs. This became known as ‘digiPIVOT’, a program designed to help our existing sisters take their businesses online and it was amazing to see women who previously had never used social media or shopped online themselves, learning something new and critically, staying open for business.
With the pandemic accelerating the number of people shopping online, having a digital sales presence is now more essential than ever. However, for some business owners, there are often barriers to successfully setting up their businesses to sell online, including knowledge, digital marketing skills and cost.
This was the inspiration for our new online marketplace which provides a professional, easy-to-use and very affordable online platform for women to sell their products and services. Dedicated to Australian women achieving financial independence, it also provides access to a comprehensive suite of business services including education, coaching, microfinance and sales & marketing support.
The economic forecast for Australian businesses still looks gloomy, and the recovery will be slow. But Global Sisters is leading an army of women to fight for a better, more equitable future, and giving every Australian an easy and convenient way to help.
Listing on the Global Sisters marketplace is free and interested women can register here.