9 gift ideas that give back to women and women’s charities doing good things
When it comes to holiday shopping, everyone usually wastes a load of money, even if they promise themselves they won’t. This year, try focusing your shopping on gifts that give back to charity as a way to give back to women and organizations that need it while still giving a gift someone will love. And since the dark ages are going to start just after the inauguration, buying a load of presents for people and tossing money away on sweaters and perfume (all very good things) seems especially wasteful this year, when there are so many people without privilege that could use a leg up. But you don’t have to boycott the holidays altogether in the name of hating materialism and sit out of the fun.
For more straightforward giving, you can always make a donation in someone’s name to women’s charities or non-profits that help women, like the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, or the Trevor Project, or a local women’s shelter in your city. If that’s the route you want to take, ask what kind of donations they actually need beforehand so you’re giving something useful and necessary, please. There are also websites like Greater Good, where you can shop for all sorts of things, and then choose a cause that you would like to support.
Donations are great — but it’s also nice to have something to unwrap on whatever holiday you’re celebrating. Here are some great ideas.
If you need stocking stuffers or something easy to give your co-workers, Thistle Farms is a good place to start. They make all natural products — cute shirts, bath sets, and even kids’ products, too — all made by women who are survivors of addiction, prostitution, and human trafficking, based in Tennessee. The organization runs outreach programs and has residential centers and also employs some women in countries like Cambodia and Peru, as well as Nashville. You can definitely find something for everybody here.
This gift set has seven products made by seven female-founded and run companies, all supported by the Tory Burch Foundation. The box is full of sort of Goop-y products, like vegan nail polish, a really pretty “minimalist necklace,” and a handwoven cotton clutch, but all the proceeds go back to the foundation, which helps women all over the world start businesses and get to work.
Actually anything from here will do (they have accessories, kids PJs, and a decent sale page). These robes and PJ sets are gorgeous and handmade by women in India who were victims of human trafficking. According to the site, proceeds go to materials and sewing equipment, but also to “housing and medical care, and when applicable, school/education fees for children of women in the sewing centers.”
Rosie’s Place is based in Boston and provides shelter and food and work to homeless women and women in poverty. They also have a “Craft Collective,” which employs women to make jewelry and fancy bookmarks. Proceeds support their programs, including the emergency food pantry and housing, but also “educational and employment opportunities, clothing, wellness care, transportation and emergency funds for eviction prevention and medications.” One third of the women who come to them have children.
Conscious Steps makes cute, cozy socks that all support global charities like water and food safety. This collection in particular supports UNAIDS, which provides HIV treatment for expectant mothers in underdeveloped countries that prevents HIV from passing from mother to child. The other socks in this gift box “plant trees” and provide meals to hungry children. Other single pairs ($15 each) go to education for kids or “ending poverty,” so take your pick.
These dolls are sort of adorable (and come in different shapes and skin colors, BTW) and are ethically handmade by women in Peru. The purchase of every doll gives 10 meals, provided by the World Food Program, which ensures food safety in conflict zones and underdeveloped countries. Women in those areas bear the burden of hunger (and feeding their children), so when you help the WFP, you’re helping women.
If you didn’t already scoop up the Nasty Woman shirt, tote, or mug pre-election, you can still get one. Half of the proceeds go to Planned Parenthood, which is going to need it in the coming years. Also, this woman is pretty badass.
This handmade soap is a collaboration between Apotheke and The Adventure Project. The soap goes to giving women in Kenya charcoal efficient stoves. It’s a huge issue. The Adventure Project writes on its website, “The average woman in Kenya walks ten miles, spending 30 hours per week collecting firewood. It’s back-breaking work. Cooking over these open fires is one of the largest killers of women and children.” You can also buy a t-shirt that says “Adventure” and 100 percent of the profits will go to a stove. For $20, that’s a bargain.
All of the bags and clutches from Sseko, based in Uganda, are gorgeous and handmade in Ethiopia by women who are paid a fair wage, get their education subsidized, and are allowed to take leadership roles within the company. The leather and materials are sourced from local Ethiopian farmers, in line with the company’s mission to eradicate poverty in East Africa. They make ribbon sandals, affordable accessories, and a leather bucket bag worth spending your grocery money on.
There are lots of ways to give great gifts and give back to women in need all over the world. Or you can always just shop for yourself, too.