Shoppers at Walmart this Fall might notice something new on some of the products on store shelves: a little logo that says it was made by a women-owned company. It will first appear on Maggie’s Salsa, Anise Cosmetics, the Smart & Sexy brand of underwear, and the household cleaner called CLR.
“Women in general, if there’s a product that they can tell is a women-owned product, they’ll actually buy that product over the next product,” says Pamela Prince-Eason, president and CEO of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, one of the organizations working with Walmart on the logo.
Those organizations will be watching closely to see if the logo affects sales in either direction. Women buy more cosmetics, but CLR skews male. It’s an open question whether the logo will help combat gender stereotypes, or perpetuate them.
In general, though, consumers think highly of women-owned businesses.
“There might be a sense of trust, and confidence in the fair dealings in the organization,” says Laura Kray, Professor of leadership at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.
And, even if consumers have no opinion, just seeing the logo could get consumers to want to learn more about gender issues in business.
“It brings that issue to the forefront and actually makes people look into it and say what is this and why is it important?” says Marlene Morris Towns, Teaching Professor of Marketing at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.
Backers of the symbol are talking with Macy’s and Office Depot about expanding its use to those stores.