The Women's March Had An Unexpected Impact
In case you needed another reminder that girls really do run the world, it turns out the Women's March caused a huge spike in office supply sales in the United States during the week before the protest took place. With an estimated 4.2 million attendees nationwide, the march for gender equality is widely regarded as the largest demonstration in American history, and judging from poster board and marker sales, it also involved an astronomical amount of clever signage.
On Thursday, Fortune reported that the NDP Group, a market research company, looked at the January sales figures for office supplies like posters, scissors, and tape — the stuff you would need to make, say, a homemade "Love Trumps Hate" sign. According to the report, more than 6.5 million poster boards were sold over the course of the month, with nearly one-third sold during the week before the Women's March. Poster board sales were up 33 percent overall compared to the same time last year, and foam boards were up a whopping 42 percent. Writing and crafting tools were up as well. Glue and tape sales spiked 27 and 12 percent, respectively, and marker sales went up by up to 35 percent.
The result? Millions of feminist signs demonstrating for gender equality on Jan. 21.
Clearly, the Women's March didn't just provide an outlet for the frustration and anxiety felt by many Americans after the results of the presidential election. It gathered together millions of women and men, and as the sales figures demonstrate, the members of the Women's March wield substantial financial power.
In fact, although women's economic power is often downplayed or outright ignored, past research has suggested that they will become "financial powerhouses" by 2020, and they drive around three-quarters of consumer purchasing.
Activists have harnessed economic power for political good in campaigns like #GrabYourWallet, which boycotted retailers carrying Trump products, and the Bodega strike led by Yemeni business owners in protest of the first immigration ban. More recently, the Day Without a Woman — organized by the leaders of the Women's March — called for women to take the day off from work, unpaid labor, and shopping, demonstrating women's vital contributions to the economy and society as a whole.
In conclusion? Women are an economic force to be reckoned with, and it's long past time businesses took note. In the meantime, be sure to spend your own money wisely and ethically.