by Megan Reback
Tis the season to give the women in your life socially responsible, unique, hip gifts. Rather than stuffing stockings with sweaters from sweatshops or mass-produced, mundane tchotchkes, check out our guide to making the season a little brighter – for women all over the world! (Larger image below.)
Babeland opened in 1993 in response to the lack of women-friendly sex shops. They seek to inform and educate women on sexuality. Their philanthropic arm, Come for a Cause, donated almost $100,000 to over 300 organizations last year, including the Trevor Project, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and Planned Parenthood. “We like to think we’re changing the world, one orgasm at a time!” the group says.
Zidisha mincrofinance is the first peer-to-peer microlending service that allows direct interaction between lenders and borrowers. Your gift recipient can keep in touch with the borrower directly, and learn about the impact of your gift. Microfinancing opportunities can empower women to financial independence.
A night on the town: Tickets to Eve Ensler’s Emotional Creature (4)
Bring your teenage niece, daughter, nephew, or son to the new off-Broadway play Emotional Creature. Written by Eve Ensler of The Vagina Monologues fame, Emotional Creature details the complexities of "growing up girl," and discusses subjects like eating disorders, female genital mutilation, and working in factories. The show promises to empower and mobilize girls, and ticket proceeds go to V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women.
Empower Rwandan women entrepreneurs with gifts from Indego Africa
Indego Africa partners with Women artisans in Rwanda on a fair trade basis and connects them to the international export market. The organization invests 100% of profits back into business training programs for women artisans. Give this chic iPad case (5), beaded necklace (6), and infinity scarf (7) to a woman you love to empower a Rwandan woman.
Give the gift of light from Prosperity Candle
Forget Yankee Candle this holiday season, and purchase candles from Prosperity Candle, an organization that supports women through the craft of candle making. The organization works with women in Iraq and Haiti as well as Burmese refugees in the United States. Pick one of these hip coffee-tin candles (8) or this Global Girlfriend State of Mind gift set (9), which includes a soy and beeswax candle made by a Burmese refugee, the book Global Girlfriends: How One Mom Made It Her Business to Help Women in Poverty Worldwide, and a burlap tote.
Support women-founded companies by purchasing your gifts on PlumAlley.co
These carefully chosen, beautiful pieces all come from female-founded companies that represent substance and discipline in creation and beauty. PlumAlley.co celebrates female founders and shares their stories on their website, creating visibility for women entrepreneurs and inspiring more women to start their own companies. Choose this sterling silver gold-filled necklace with the natural block onyx stone by Mina Ro Mina (10), or give your best friend a funky way of decorating her Christmas tree with six of these semi-precious Joia ornaments (11), which are made of hand-polished agate stone. You could also give a new beauty regimen by Janet Waddell, with this beauty bag (12). This set of paraben-free beauty products contains Emu Oil and includes a gorgeous shampoo, flawless conditioner, genus styling balm, fabulous body wash, and beyond body lotion.
If all else fails, there are always gift cards (13)
We suggest a Catapult 100% tax-deductible gift card so that your friends and family can choose a project that supports women and girls. Catapult is a crowdfunding platform that's dedicated to driving funds to projects and organizations that improve women and girls' lives around the world. You can connect with people and organizations who care about the issues you are passionate about to choose where you want to donate. Like all of us at Vitamin W, Catapult does not see a world of progress without addressing gender equality.
Megan Reback is the Assistant to the Publisher at Talking Points Memo. A former news intern for TPM, she graduated from Connecticut College cum laude in May 2012 with a B.A. in English and Government. Prior to joining TPM, Reback wrote for her college's newspaper and interned with Planned Parenthood. In addition to her full-time job, she writes for various publications on women's issues. She can be reached at email@example.com.