Lingua Franca

The Power of Femvertising

Advertising and clothing featuring ‘empowering’ messaging for women, are all the rage.  And for us as consumers, it feels just as good to wear a t-shirt emblazoned with a powerful mantra as it is to watch a commercial that champions equality. I even participated in a positive example of femvertizing myself recently for the brand Lingua Franca. But is any of this moving the needle for women or is it just surface noise, a balm that keeps us away from the real issues? 

For me, what's more important is not the feel good marketing but that these companies walk the talk. Lingua Franca is run by a woman, employs mostly women, and a percentage of all sales go to charity. I'm not saying any brand has to fit that criteria but I do expect fair female representation among its ranks. 

So the next time you're tempted to share that viral 'girl power' ad or buy the 'girl boss' t-shirt, take a closer look at the company doing the selling. What's the percentage of women in their workforce? How many are in senior management? How diverse is their board? Do they have good parental leave policies? Women drive 80% of all consumer purchasing and we have tremendous power to effect change by using our social influence and spending power wisely. 

Lingua Franca makes a statement

Fashion and retail companies are increasingly using their platforms as a way of expressing their feelings about key social issues. I'm really proud to be a part of this project from Rachelle Hruska's sweater line, Lingua Franca. The company's popular message sweaters feature phrases such as 'We are all immigrants' and 'I miss Barack'. Lingua Franca employs 45 women, many of whom are immigrants, to embroider its sweaters and proceeds go to the charity of your choice.

The company assembled a fierce and fantastic group of women, from Women's March co-chair Blob Bland to CNN commentator Sally Kohn for a campaign to highlight the work of women in leadership and activism. The accompanying photographs and video were shot by renowned photographer Pamela Hanson.  To purchase the sweaters, email 

The full list of women featured in the campaign are Janna Pea, Geena Rocero, Christina Chang, Bob Bland, Sehreen Noor Ali, Claire Stapleton, Dee Poku, Sally Kohn, Marcella Tillet, Zoe Buckman, Ginny Suss, Tanya Selvaratnam, Jenna Arnold, Rachel Fleit, Tabitha St. Bernard-Jacobs, Rachel SklarSarah Sophie Flicker, Ting Ting Cheng, Stacy De-Lin, Ann Dexter Jones, Paola Mendoza, Shi Shi Rose and Latham Thomas .