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5 tips for a women’s product startup not to cease to exist: how diversity can avoid embarrassment and loss of money

Pinky glove: The tampon removal glove created — and invested in — by men, in an “attempt to solve a problem that doesn’t exist”

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Products for women should be created and managed by women
Products for women should be created and managed by women

“Pinky Gloves” was the project of two male Germans whose flagship was a pink glove to be worn by women when changing their pads. The idea was presented on a German TV show, like the Shark Tank, convinced investors and received 30 thousand euros in initial investment, however, the immense negative repercussion spearheaded by gynecologists, writers and influencers on social media led entrepreneurs to apologize and give up on the project.

At the very least it is curious to look at the image of the entrepreneurs of that company in the photos of the reports, with the prototypes of the gloves in their hands. Where would the women who represent the target audience and endorse the initiative be? Did these men really listen to women who complained about something ordinary like doing their personal hygiene? And why would a woman buy a product in which there is no real identification and recognition of purpose?

In addition to being sexist, of bad taste, polluting, pink gloves stigmatize menstruation, something that should be considered natural.

This type of misunderstanding, when creating a solution for something that is not considered a problem, happens more often than one imagines in everyday corporate life. The presumption and pride of leaders and teams who think they have all the questions and answers create myopic universes, which feed back on their own opinions and vanities. Especially if we consider that many decisions are still made by the same standardized impressions which see the world from a limited point of view.

There is no longer an excuse to postpone the incorporation of women and other diverse groups into decision-making spaces. Not as a matter of publicity or good corporate governance practices, but in order to improve competitiveness and innovation, bringing about progress. Multiple views see problems and solutions differently, increasing the chances of winning more or losing less.

If you are in a company and have some influence, start by:

  1. Questioning boards of directors made up of white men only and suggesting hiring more women and other racial groups;
  2. Support diversity in hiring for positions creating and developing products and services;
  3. Organize mentoring between senior executives and new professionals (especially for women and other minority groups);
  4. Hire consultants specialized in diversity to create an environment to welcome and develop your employees;
  5. Share good diversity initiatives.

If we want products for women to succeed, it is imperative that they are represented in senior management positions. Let’s discard veiled prejudice and lack of intelligence along with projects that exclude female voices like that one of pink gloves.

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Co-authored with Sandra Milena Acosta

Sandra has worked for more than 12 years in the strategic planning and risk management of global financial institutions. Master in Economics from UFPR, graduated in Economics from UNICAMP and post-graduated in Digital Marketing from Kellogg Executive Education, she recently went through a career transition and is now a Writer of Chronicles, Children’s Literature and Poems. All of her work is available on her Instagram page (@sandramtca) and on Medium.

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