By Ellen Wulfhorst
NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Women's rights advocates will launch a website this month for consumers to choose products and retailers that support women-owned businesses around the world, organizers said on Friday.
Users of ChooseWomen.org can search by postcode or product to find local women-owned businesses for shopping, said Wendy Diamond, founder of the site.
Globally, 11.3 million women own businesses that generate $1.6 trillion in annual revenue and employ nearly 9 million people, she said.
The initiative hopes to replicate the popularity of such efforts as Small Business Saturday, which was started to promote local shopping, and Cyber Monday, a marketing effort to encourage online shopping, organizers said.
Another such effort is Giving Tuesday that focuses on charitable giving.
A percentage of each sale using ChooseWomen.org will go toward providing microloans to poor women to start their own businesses, said Diamond, also a founder of Women's Entrepreneurship Day.
"Women worldwide have historically been underpaid, undervalued, underrepresented and underfunded ... and still are," Diamond told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by email.
Diamond said she wanted to launch the website after seeing the work of the Adelante Foundation in Honduras that provides poor women with microloans to start businesses.
"I saw firsthand how 90 percent of the money earned by these women is used to educate their children and provide for their families – bettering the overall community," she said.
The website kicks off on Nov. 30 and follows Women's Entrepreneurship Day on Nov. 19.
So far it has the participation of more than 70 retailers including fashion companies Coach, Cynthia Rowley, Nasty Gal and ASOS, organizers said.
Scheduled to coincide with the start of the end-of-year holiday shopping season, Small Business Saturday is Nov. 26, Cyber Monday is Nov. 28 and Giving Tuesday is scheduled for Nov. 29.
(Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst, Editing by XX; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, land rights and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)