Three Steps to Support Equity in our Industry

From Arielle Gross Samuels, Global Head of Environmental, Social and Governance Business, Meta

As we honor Women’s History Month and celebrate the achievements of women around the world, let’s consider how we will act as leaders and allies to achieve a more empowered and inclusive future for all. There has never been a better time to put equity at the core of our business. So how do we do that?

At Meta, we are committed to supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals — in particular, Goal 8, which calls for promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. The advertising and marketing industry has an important role to play in envisioning, creating and amplifying a future that works for everyone. To that end, here are three important steps we can take to support equity in our industry and beyond:

  1. Diversify your Dollar

Do you know how much of your balance sheet goes to the wallets of diverse suppliers, including women-owned businesses? Knowing the answer is essential to ensuring that your spend supports the high quality talent represented by the more than 150 million women-owned businesses across the world.

At Meta, we’ve committed to spending at least $1 billion annually with suppliers certified as underrepresented, women, veteran, LGBTQ+or disability-owned. From construction to catering, marketing to media buying, pushing to spend more with women- and diverse-owned businesses is something we can and must do to build equity into the economy.

    2. Accelerate Inclusive Representation

Portrait Of Female Owner Of Gift Store With Digital Tablet

There are many ways to elevate the authentic voices, stories and needs of women through our work and platforms. Raising awareness is not only the right thing to do, it can also be an opportunity for brands to reach and engage new audiences.

At Meta, we joined  SeeHer, a coalition of marketers, agencies, and media companies led by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and The Female Quotient. We also work closely with the ANA’s Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing (AIMM) and its coalition of entities from the entire marketing ecosystem, representing the Hispanic, African-American, Asian, and LGBTQ+ markets, to make progress. In our work with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media to support GD-IQ, software that measures screen and speaking time to track equity, we learn how our own marketing can be more inclusive.  Together, we are working to accelerate inclusive representation, challenging businesses to rethink how people are represented in advertising.

Such efforts are proving that inclusive representation isn’t just good for creativity, it’s good for business. We each have a responsibility to close the imagination gap and allow anyone, in any corner of the world, to see themselves represented in a more equal global economy.

   3. Invest in the Future

As we strive to build back a stronger economy against an endemic backdrop, how businesses support the next generation of female entrepreneurs has never been more important. Our newly commissioned research, Young Voices: Entrepreneurial Dreams Amid a Global Crisis, conducted by Economist Impact, finds young women are less likely to aspire to become entrepreneurs (72 percent of women surveyed versus 82 percent of men), discouraged in part by structural social challenges and a lack of role models — not to mention access to capital.

At Meta we are focused on lifting up the next generation of female founders. Through our #SheMeansBusiness program we’ve reached more than 1 million women with training in 38 markets around the world. By ensuring that everyone can participate in the digital economy, we can unlock the potential of women entrepreneurs at this crucial moment for our economy. Indeed, the United Nations Development Programme estimates that achieving the Sustainable Development Goals would unlock $12 trillion in annual market opportunities and 380 million new jobs.

This Women’s History Month as we celebrate all who identify as women, let’s recommit to tangible action to drive progress. No matter how big or small, all businesses can and must innovate to accelerate equity and level the playing field of opportunity.

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