Imagine if companies working to support women’s sexual health and wellness in the United States were banned from advertising their products (e.g. products that prevent women’s pain, support women going through menopause, enable women’s pleasure, expand sexual health education, and more). If many were banned from working with common payment processors, and banks. If some were turned away from the same factories that manufacture condoms – all posing barriers to these companies helping women.
You don’t have to imagine. This is reality, today. In 2019 – despite massive amounts of advertising for erectile dysfunction and sexually-oriented products for men. The double standard toward female sexuality is real, and impactful. You can read all about this discrimination in our founder’s op-ed in the New York Times today.
In the meantime, women (and our relationships) can benefit from more tools to support women’s sexual health and wellbeing. Nearly three out of four women experience pain during intercourse at some point. Half of women 18 to 35 have trouble reaching orgasm with a partner. And many menopausal women are not supported even as their bodies’ natural changes impact their sex lives.
This is why we are launching...
Center for Intimacy Justice: the first advocacy nonprofit dedicated to establishing equal rules in business toward women’s sexual wellness companies. We are starting by working to change digital advertising practices in the United States to allow women’s sexual health and wellness companies to advertise. We believe that opening up advertising for this market will have massive impact on women’s sexual wellness entrepreneurs’ ability to raise investment capital to technologically innovate, reach customers who can benefit, and educate the public about sexual health – improving women and their partners’ lives. We are on a mission to contribute toward a sexual culture of greater equality and wellbeing.
Examples of action you can expect from us:
· More investigative opinion pieces in national and international publications, researched and written by our team, sharing examples of women’s sexual wellness companies not being allowed to advertise even when men’s companies can – and discussing related topics that impact sexual equality. This will include sharing striking examples that have not yet been reported on – helping hold corporations and the most important digital advertisers accountable for equitable practices. We’re further amplifying awareness, and calling for business changes that impact our culture.
· A strategic, far-reaching campaign – educating and galvanizing the public to call on specific digital advertising corporations to allow women’s sexual wellness ads. We’ll organize collectively with many women’s sexual health companies – and will leverage social media, online petitions, the press, and more.
· Helping and collaborating to create task forces in companies such as Facebook to address this double standard and create solutions with a sense of urgency (incorporating the expertise and commitment of agreed upon representatives from the women’s sexual wellness entrepreneurship community). We want your voices and our constituents’ voices to be represented.
· If we don’t see significant near-term changes from the most important players we call on, we are not closing off the possibility of taking legal action that has potential for significant impact. There is precedent for nonprofit legal and advocacy groups successfully changing digital advertising practices. For example, after the ACLU and ProPublica recently sued Facebook for discriminating by race and gender in housing and jobs ads, Facebook began making significant changes.
Your donations and support will directly fuel and enable us to carry out these activities. We need your help to build a robust organization that can positively impact women and their partners In a meaningful area of life – through establishing equal and just business practices contributing to women’s sexual wellbeing. We are so grateful for your support, and any amount helps!
About our team:
· Our founder (and our op-ed's author), Jackie Rotman, completed her MBA at Stanford in June, and will complete her MPA at Harvard this year. She has been a social entrepreneur since age 14, when she founded Everybody Dance Now! – now a national youth development organization. Jackie has worked in venture capital and in women’s health investing – including working on investments in sex education and contraception technology. She also previously led Spark, a millennial philanthropic network that equips young people to be effective gender equality advocates. Jackie has been deeply involved with the national women’s rights and women’s philanthropy movements in the US. She advocated for making education more trauma-informed and safe for survivors of trauma, transforming and improving sexual assault reporting options, and more.
· Carol Werbse, who supports our research and operations, is a soon-to-be Berkeley graduate who’s writing her UC Berkeley thesis about advertising practices in the US toward women’s sextech companies. She has worked both for a sex education tech company, and in law (including helping domestic violence victims).
· We also have world-class, experienced advisors on board who we are excited to announce in the coming weeks – including two of the most powerful women in US philanthropy and women’s rights, key leaders and entrepreneurs in women’s sextech, and even the founder of one of the two main erectile dysfunction startups, who is a dedicated ally.
It is time that women’s sexual wellness is valued equally to men’s – in business and in our culture. Together, let’s build a movement to ensure this -- and to elevate our culture to support equality, kindness, connection, and joy in a meaningful area of our lives.
If you have any ideas, questions, feedback, or input, we’d love to hear it and be in dialogue. Comment here – or DM (and feel free to follow) us on Instagram (our founder is jackierotman1) or Twitter (@jackierotman).