Businesses Need to Step Up for Reproductive Health—Here’s How
On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court took away the right to control your own body. It overturned Roe v. Wade, ending the constitutional right to abortion and ignoring nearly 50 years of precedent. This decision undermined decades of gains for gender equality and reproductive freedom. The consequences of this decision are devastating. When people have access to comprehensive reproductive care, including abortion, they have better access to education, careers, family planning, and quality of life — all things that are good for business and the economy. Women who don’t have access to abortion are three times more likely to leave the workforce and four times more likely to live in poverty.
During this tumultuous time, brands have the ability to shift the culture around sexual and reproductive health. More than ever, companies are re-aligning with consumer values. Workers and consumers alike want businesses to take a stand on social issues that are important to them. While some companies have spoken up and taken a public stance on abortion access, others have chosen to show their support privately.
According to Greenwald Research, seven in ten consumers believe it is important for brands to take a stand on issues. Many want brands to take a stand specifically on reproductive health care. This puts reproductive health care in line with the desire for action on other social issues, such as gender equity, racial justice, and voting rights. Employees, workers and customers, both now and in the future, care about what stance brands take on these issues.
Having worked on several cause marketing campaigns, and various collaborations, Shantelle Dockett, director of corporate and culture engagement at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, highlights the importance of brands in making reproductive health care more accessible.
“In the past five years, corporate allies have added their voices to amplify our shared values and to engage consumers in support of our efforts. We have seen several brands rise up to the challenge. Brands like Benefit Cosmetics, Estée Lauder Brands, OkCupid and designers such as Marc Jacobs, Off-White, Universal Standard have worked on campaigns in support of Planned Parenthood’s fight for sexual and reproductive health access across the country. What we know is this – beauty and fashion brands have the power, resources and platforms to make real change. It’s on them to speak out and step up.”
It is essential that companies also do the work internally, providing strong support for the many health care needs facing workers who can become pregnant — including contraception and abortion coverage, maternal health care, parental leave, and more. Access to comprehensive reproductive health care is central to gender equity and women’s full participation in the workplace. Companies that understand this, and show it through their benefits, are better positioned to attract and retain employees, build a strong pipeline of talent, and deliver on diversity and inclusion goals. These strengths can contribute to stronger bottom-line performance while helping companies prepare for increased scrutiny from stakeholders.
If your business is looking to join the fight for equitable access to reproductive health care, there are many ways for you to stand out and speak out as a company, business leader, employee group, or individual worker.
Join the Don’t Ban Equality network of over 800 businesses and learn how companies, brands, c-suite executives, and employees can support abortion rights. Don’t Ban Equality is a network that publicly asserts that supporting access to reproductive health care positively affects business efforts to promote workplace equity; build diverse and inclusive workforces; recruit top talent across states; and support the well-being of workers, communities, and the economy.
If you are part of a brand and want to take the first step by staying up to date on the issues, you can also sign up for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s corporate newsletter to learn how companies can collaborate with us to support reproductive health.