Tuesday, January 19, 2016

2016 is an especially good year to be a woman. 1st for Women Insurance highlights a few trends that are coming into play this year that will help women be the best that they can be.

Work: Increased flexibility and mobility are a plus for women

Allowing people to work according to a flexible schedule and in places that they are more comfortable are increasingly being acknowledged as more humane employment options for all individuals. But more specifically, this increased flexibility benefits working mothers who have to balance the demands of childcare with their workplace responsibilities. The global trend to embrace these workplace philosophies is doing wonders for working women. 


Purchasing power: Products marketed to women get a serious makeover

With more and more women occupying high-powered positions in the workforce, products and branding for women are shifting. Women are defining what great service looks like, what efficiencies are necessary in the home and how money can be spent for the benefit of everyone in their households. Women’s voices are being heard, and the market is responding to their current needs.

Money: Down with the tampon tax

Around the world, women are taxed on sanitary items like pads and tampons as if they are “luxury items”. After a great deal of publicity against this state of affairs, a bill has been introduced in the state of California to remove this tax from these essential purposes. The conversation has started and soon, taxes around the world will fall.

Entertainment: Better big-screen, small-screen and real-world role models

In 2015, we saw Rey from Star Wars and Furiosa from Mad Max: Fury Road steal the spotlight as strong female leads. There’s no dearth of those powerful role models in 2016 with The Huntsman: Winter’s War, in which the villains and the heroes are women, and Jane’s Got a Gun, a Western driven by women, releasing early this year. It’s great to see a shift in Hollywood that acknowledges women can do anything, and while many of these movies aren’t appropriate for younger viewers, there are increasing big screen options for teaching important messages about equality to girls and boys.

Clothing: Choose your clothes with care

In January 2016, an Ethical Fashion Show was held in Berlin to showcase labels and designers that use sustainable production processes. It can be difficult for women to keep track of the origins of all their clothing and beauty products, so the increased obligation for clothing manufacturers to adhere to sustainable standards will ultimately mean that your beauty doesn’t have to come at a cost to someone else.

Diet: Your food requirements are unique to you

An Israeli study released last year showed that different people’s blood sugars react differently to the same diet. The study stated that glycemic index is not a set value, but rather has to do with how each individual reacts to different foods. While we are still a while away from individualised diet plans that take into account our personal blood sugar responses, this is yet another indicator that it’s OK to listen to our bodies rather than relying on numbers or tools to tell us what we can and can’t eat.

Efficiency: Mothers encouraged to lead rather than serve

One of the things that most women wish they had more of was more hours in the day – especially when juggling the demands of work, home and children. Product managers and marketers around the world are looking for answers to these challenges. A particularly effective example of this is the Libromat, a facility opened in Khayelitsha in the Western Cape fitted out with washers and driers, with the intention that mothers can spend their visit teaching their children to read rather than handwashing their clothes. Three other Libromats have now been opened in South Africa, and we’ll be seeing a lot more of these kinds of solutions at both ends of the economic spectrum.

Inspiration: The rise of women in Africa

Casting off outdated notions of Africa as a backwards continent, the numbers tell a different story. In Nigeria, 41% of entrepreneurs are women, compared to only 10% in the United States. Rwanda has the highest number of women (63.8%) serving in parliament in the world. And Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was recognised for her non-violent struggle for the safety of women and women’s rights to full participation in peace building work with a Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. Mauritius and Malawi have also had women heads of state in recent years. It’s a good time to be a woman in Africa.

Let 2016 be your year to shine

“As the world becomes more accommodating to the needs of women, and more accepting of the fact that women are capable of doing anything we set our minds to, we can seize opportunities as they present themselves, knowing we are competent and supported,” says Farrell. “Let’s celebrate the strides we’re making every day towards becoming the best people we can be. Here’s to a powerful 2016,” says Robyn Farrell, Executive Head of 1st for Women Insurance.

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