17 Apr 2023
The social enterprise sector has the potential to drive positive change and address some of the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges. However, women’s perspectives and experiences are often underrepresented in the design and operation of businesses which can limit their effectiveness and impact.
Women face unique social and economic challenges that can be addressed through social enterprises. Women often have limited access to capital, education, and other resources, which can make it difficult to start and grow businesses. Social enterprises designed by and for women can address these challenges by providing access to training, mentoring, and other resources that can help women entrepreneurs succeed. Women are often more affected by social and environmental issues, such as poverty, inequality, and climate change and so can bring a unique perspective to the design and operation of social enterprises, helping to ensure that they are addressing the most pressing social and environmental issues.
At the same time women-led social enterprises have the potential to create jobs and economic opportunities for women and their communities. This can lead to increased economic growth and development, which can benefit society as a whole.
Social enterprises can help to address gender inequality. By providing economic opportunities and empowering women, social enterprises can help to address gender inequality and promote women’s rights. This can have positive ripple effects throughout society, leading to greater social and economic stability and development.
Social enterprises designed by and for women have the potential to drive positive social and environmental change, while also promoting women’s economic empowerment and gender equality. By ensuring that women’s perspectives and experiences are represented in the design and operation of social enterprises, we can create more effective and impactful solutions to the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges.
Here are a few doing a great job!
Women know best when it comes to their health, which is Bring Me To Life we are a female-led, not-for-profit organisation, specifically focusing on women’s wellbeing. They believe that the gender gap women face limits their access a good standard of personalised care for their overall health and wellbeing. Within local services in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, they are making different methods, therapies and opportunities, centred around wellness, available to all women from all walks of life, in order to support their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
The Beehive began in 2017, as a pop-up shop in Ashford, Kent. The idea was that was to offer a beautiful shopping experience with good quality second-hand clothing, donated from the community, for the community. And central to it is to have a place where women who can’t afford clothing can be referred by local services to come and get clothes for free. They firmly say that they are not a ‘charity’ shop, but a place of dignity and beauty where paying customers and referred women both share the same boutique experience. The only difference is that when the clothes are scanned into the till, referred women’s bill is zero.
Globally and locally women and girls are currently underrepresented in the workplace and in education in the areas of technology, engineering, and creative digital. TEC projects seek to understand the problem on a local level and look at ways to intervene with both supportive and system-level solutions. Founded by Caitlin Gould, it explores how we help women thrive (not just survive) in digital and tech industries.
Planet & People is a Community Interest Company founded in 2020 as a result of the growing need to empower communities to be drivers of change in creating a healthier environment for planet and people. It was founded by Devon-based teacher and environmentalist team, Bethia Stevenson-Paul and Jess Carter to support schools to engage with environmental practices to create a better future for planet and people. They deliver workshops in schools to take the pressure off by allowing environmental consideration to be integrated into everyday operations.
The Women’s Work Lab C.I.C was founded in 2019 by Bristol based social entrepreneurs Rachel Mostyn and Camilla Rigby, and they were Gaia finalists. The powerful 9-month programme supports unemployed Mums on benefits to transform their lives by rebuilding confidence, ambition and employability skills. The aim is to help participants on their journey to find work that works for them and their families and to build a financially secure and brighter future. By combining bespoke classroom training with a work placement, 1-2-1 career coaching and mentoring, the programmes are always oversubscribed and achieve phenomenal results; 100% of 2021 graduates now feel confident about applying for a new job and returning to the workplace (from 54% before the programme began). Sixty percent of Mums are now working and 20% are in further training.