Transparency is becoming the new norm in terms of company values, as information on businesses' personal politics, environmental standings, and use of Fair Trade products is now readily available for you to view as a customer. And now a new tool exists to tell us about the female friendliness of your favorite companies: The Buy Up Index grades companies' advocacy of women on a scale of A to C, making it easier to support companies that are working for gender equality.
The index's co-creator, Amy-Willard Cross, spoke to The Huffington Post about what inspired her to create a tool like this. “My hope is that women direct their spending to companies that serve women well, as opposed to giving money to companies that have no women on the board or sexist advertising," she said.
In order to determine the rankings, four major criteria are used: Women employees, women’s leadership, corporate citizenship, and marketing. According to the Buy Up Index's website, they used "the highest journalistic standards" to produce their results, doing several rounds of research and fact-checking to make sure they got it right. Not only that, but the index is wide-reaching, as well: The data employed hails from over 150 countries and 11 different industries.
The app shows you a company's overall score, as well as their scores for each of the four categories. You can also a view a summery of the company's business practices and even get in touch with them to speak your mind about their policies. The index features over 800 companies, with top scoring brands easily findable by category, metric, and industry — and as a final twist, only the companies that score As can offer coupons and exclusive deals on the app's platform, giving all of them an incentive to improve their rankings.
This is such an awesome way to use your spending power to support gender equality. According to Buy Up, women make over 70 percent of purchasing decisions in the United States, which adds up to trillions of dollars. "I always thought words would get us equality. Now I realize money is an important tool," Cross told HuffPo.The app is still in it's beta stage, however, so while you can download and use it, the extent of your searching and reach is currently limited.
If you want to support gender equality champs in your spending, here are the three best companies to buy from and/or work for on the Buy Up Index. Note that these are all of the top performers listed overall, but you can still search by category currently in the beauty, cellphone, and household products industries.
1. Avon Products
Avon is one of the highest-scoring companies on the Buy Up Index, earning an overall grade of an A. They also earned As in the employee, leadership, and other categories; in fact, the only area they didn't score perfectly in was advertising, in which they earned a B. According to Buy Up, Avon has a female CEO, a board made up of 63 percent women, and a managerial team that is 51 percent female. They also provide employees eight weeks of maternity leave and donated $32 million dollars to female-friendly causes like fighting breast cancer and ending domestic violence in 2012.
Google earned in A in all four categories as well as overall, making them one of the top performers on the Buy Up Index. According to the summery they provided about the company, they offer "generous" maternity leave to employees and have donated $40 to women's non-profits. It's worth noting, as the Buy Up Index does, that Google has gotten heat over sexual harassment and low female participation at trade shows; additionally, there's a demonstrable diversity problem in the company overall. Hopefully they're moving towards a more diverse employee base, though.
This cosmetics company earned an A in their overall score, and only got one less than perfect mark (a B) in the advertising category. The profile of the company says that their managerial staff is 57 percent women and their board is made up of 40 percent women. L'ORÉAL also offers a good parental leave option for new mom's and have fellowships available for women in science and digital business, helping to support women in STEM.
Since the app is still in its beta stage, usage is limited, but you can still check out and download the Buy Up Index on your smartphone to check out what companies are woman-friendly.