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Leading up to the second annual Women-Led Wednesday on Nov. 27, Cassie Abel is building her directory of companies either founded by or led by women.
She’s calling any businesses with women at the top to join her community of more than 300 brands of all sizes, so far representing the outdoor, active, lifestyle, bridal, and health and wellness industries.
In her research, Abel discovered that while women are 52 percent of the professional-level workforce, only 25 percent of executives and senior officials and only 6 percent of CEOs among S&P 500 companies are women. So Abel created Women-Led Wednesday in 2018 to encourage holiday shoppers to spend money at women-led businesses in an effort to close the pay gap and boost the health and productivity of the workforce and economy.
“There’s no shortage of discussion and a lot of viable paths to get more women in the C-suite and on Fortune 500 executive boards,” said Abel, who also co-founded the women’s outdoor apparel company, Wild Rye. “I believe that one of the best and fastest paths to create a more gender-balanced economy is to shine a light on brands that are already led by women. Visible leadership is important, so we want to encourage holiday shoppers to support women-led brands on November 27, 2019 and the other 364 days a year.”
Abel said that more than 100 brands committed to the initiative within the first two weeks last year. “The participating brands are thinking bigger than themselves and understand that a rising tide lifts all ships…Women are eager to support each other in a way that’s really special. Year two is shaping up to be much bigger with more brands, bigger brands and a more coordinated effort. I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish—we truly are stronger together.”
To join this year’s event and be included in the directory, women-led businesses can apply until Oct. 31 at womenledwednesday.com.