Of course you do! We still make the majority of spending decisions, so we carry a whole lot of economic influence and power.
What if I were to tell you that by supporting women’s history you will attract women Clients? Members? Donors? Fans?
I promise you this works if you take certain approaches.
Why does it work?
• Because it shows your respect for our history.
• Because women and girls really are interested in their history. I know this from the talks and walking tours I give, especially when someone happens upon the event by accident. (Fathers of daughters are also interested, by the way.)
• Because it shows a side of your business or organization women wouldn’t have thought about. It shows your interest in education, local history, and the community you serve.
• Because it shows that you care about them.
What can you do?
• If you’re a business that caters to women, offer a special day just for them with a sale, refreshments, and a talk on local women’s history. One of my clients, a women’s clothing store, held this very kind of event. Their existing customers were thrilled, new women came into the store, and I was able to teach a new audience something about women’s history (I was the speaker). If your business doesn’t cater exclusively to women, collaborate with one that does. A friend of mine works with friends of his to offer a special “Massage and Mimosas” event for women in his gift and book store and they go! Who wouldn’t?
• If you’re a nonprofit, host a fundraising event that’s just for women. A colleague of mine and I are cooking up such an event right now at her museum. She will host a special day for mothers and daughters with fun food, I will give a talk, new people/potential members and donors will come in, and we will all win! Similarly, a local church I know is planning a women’s history series as a membership recruitment device. Very smart!
These ideas are designed to “get people in the door” and appreciate your business or organization in a new way.
However, you could also:
• Sponsor a women’s history talk at your library, historical society, or school.
• Support a women’s history project or organization in your community (your library will know where they are).
• Fund a scholarship for a student wishing to study women’s history.
• Back a publication project.
All of these ideas assume that you will promote the heck out of whatever you decide to do in the media, online, and at your place of business. And any of your collaborators should do the same.
The point is: You want to be SEEN doing this important work.
What you may or may not know is that women’s history is not being taught below the (self-selected) college level, with rare exceptions. And yet, it’s completely tied to who we are as women today. It can completely impact girls and young women positively.
By being part of this work, you will be providing a service to history education where it is sorely needed.
2011 © Bonnie Hurd Smith
Bonnie Hurd Smith, the President and CEO of History Smiths, is an expert on using history in new and innovative ways. She is a marketing, PR, event planning, and cultural tourism professional who also happens to be a respected historian (especially women's history), author, and public speaker.