How Mackay woman is using buying power to help gender equality

Jade Collins (left) and Alanna Bastin-Byrne, Founders of Femeconomy
Jade Collins (left) and Alanna Bastin-Byrne, Founders of Femeconomy John Gass

A NEW initiative by a Mackay woman is shedding light on the shadowy world of business management in an attempt to progress gender equality.

Launched last Tuesday, the website Femeconomy is based on the premise that women are involved in 85% of all purchase decisions, with their aim to promote brands which have females in positions of leadership.

Alanna Bastin-Byrne, who founded Femeconomy with her sister-in-law, Jade Collins, hopes the site can utilise this purchasing potential to create change.

"According to the UN, at the moment gender equality won't happen until 2133," she said.

"We thought how can we use that economic buying power to help gender equality.

"Then we looked at the Australian Institute of Company Directors' goal of having 30% of women on boards by 2018.

"We thought if we can shift that consumer purchase power towards brands with women in leadership then we're more likely to see gender equality happen at a faster rate, because you've got women at the top making the decisions to help with work flexibility, to close the gender pay gap."

Alanna said she wanted her daughter to have the same inspiration and examples in life that her son has.

Brands currently featured on the site include 7-Eleven, AAMI, IGA, Officeworks and many others.

Mackay's BB Print is the first business Kathy Farren-Price has owned and, with business partner Gary Bye, it provides services to the wider region.

She said while her trade used to be a male dominated industry, she doesn't believe anyone should receive special treatment.

"I'm not what you'd call a feminist. I'm fairly big on equal opportunities, but as long as you can do the job it doesn't matter whether you're male or female," she said.

"I guess females have had a wall put up against them.

"But I'm not a big believer in separating male and female, I think you do it on your own merit no matter what gender you are."

Ms Bastin-Byrne said they they were expecting a bit of criticism from the work they'd started, but emphasised their aim is not to create conflict but to help push better conditions for everyone in workplaces.

"Men want the same things women want and they're not getting it either," she said.

"For women to be in leadership, a husband has to take time off work to look after the kids so the women can spend time on her career.

"But if there's a stigma attached to the man being able to do that then it's less likely the women will pursue her career as well."

"When we talk to people about it like that they understand."

Topics:  business femeconomy gender equality mackay management

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