we need more female founders

we need more female founders

As International Women's Day rolls around again, I wanted to write a few notes on female founders, and why we really really need more of them. If we look at the seven biggest players in beauty (that's Coty, Johnson & Johnson, L'oreal, Lauder, Shiseido, Unilever and P&G), six of those seven currently have male CEOs. Of those seven parent companies, they're responsible for over 180 of big-name brands in beauty - that's a lot of beauty brands being controlled by men. 

Of those pushing airbrushed campaigns, telling women what they need to be seen as 'beautiful', those messages are coming from men who hold themselves to entirely different standards.

This needs to change. 

In 2018, a tiny and paltry 16% of equity deals & investment went to female founders. So even when the female-founded brands manage to survive, they are not being supported financially by those looking to invest in beauty. In boardrooms, are men happier when supporting other men? 

This needs to change. 

Want some more depressing stats? The pandemic showed us that women's jobs were 1.8% more at risk, compared to their male counterparts. Women are managing to found companies, work incredibly demanding jobs and then somehow take on roles within the house such as household chores and childcare. Juggling childcare and work is impossible - it's as though women are expected to work as though they don't have children, and raise children as if they don't have to work. 

This needs to change. 

Championing female-owned brand has always been incredibly important for us at persephone - currently, 90% of the brands we choose to stock and work with are run by women. That is a very conscious decision, because we absolutely want to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. We choose to financially back these incredible female founders. We started the company when I was pregnant with my daughter, and so showing her that the future can indeed be female is always at the forefront of my mind. 

So, for international women's day - and every day - support female-owned brands. With your wallet, with your follows on social media and with your recommendations to your friends and family. 

Collectively, we can make a change. 


  • Laura Franklin-Hollier

    Thanks so much for your interesting comment, Vivien. I completely agree, by allowing men to continue working as though they don’t have children the cycle will never stop. So much to think about, but I think as we continue to have these discussions, people will start to implement more change.

  • Vivien Mitchell

    A very interesting post which raises a lot of questions about the way women choose to use their power.

    Why are women still overwhelmingly supporting male led and male dominated companies?

    And why are women choosing to work, raise children and manage a household by themselves when they have a male partner in the same house? If a woman is working full time, then the man should either be contributing 50% or paying someone else to do it, but how often do we see this happening? If you think about it, the man gets to live in a better house in a better area, go on nicer holidays and have a family life without really doing much different than he would if he were single.

    I just find this so interesting in the context of 120+ years of women’s suffrage.

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