Many industry reports from around the world show that the Direct Selling profession is made up of a majority of women. Many of these women are now using the internet as a convenient and reliable source of information and support while growing their business. According to a report by the World Federation of Direct Selling Association (WFDSA), more than 90 million people worldwide are involved in this industry of which at least 80% are women.
Why is direct selling a major source of attraction for many women?
More than 65 million women around the world find direct selling to be the answer to gaining control of their own time, often while working in other full- or part-time careers and while being wives and mothers—managers of households.
In many countries, especially emerging economies such as India, despite immense progress, cultural norms and structural forces tend to steer many women away from full-time jobs in the formal economy. With no initial investments in terms of infrastructure or manpower, and flexible work hours, direct selling has made entrepreneurship more attractive especially for women who want to be part-time entrepreneurs.
Level Playing Field
Let’s face the truth. Nine out of 10 times, in the corporate world, the tendency is for a man to be in the position of authority, to get the higher pay for the same job, and to make it up the corporate ladder faster. The beauty of the direct sales profession is that it is gender neutral. Anyone who does the work required gets paid irrespective of gender. The same thing is true for advancing in ranks.
There is no such thing as a man’s world in this business. The direct selling profession is everyone’s world. Man or woman, it’s a level-playing field.
Direct selling companies have been helping empower women for over 100 years. The World Bank defines ‘empowerment’ as the process of increasing the capacity of individuals or groups to make choices and to transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes.
These common characterizations of empowerment capture some of what is possible for women through direct selling.
There are many reasons people get involved with direct selling —the ability to work from home, flexibility, extra income, the opportunity to build a career on your own terms. For women, the capacity to make a choice is a form of empowerment.
For so many women involved in direct selling, the sense of empowerment does not occur overnight. It is akin to a journey, as a woman moves from a customer of the product to promoting it to earn commissions, and eventually becoming a business owner and a leader, by building a team.
It is a transformative process that can empower women in so many ways and allow them to be agents of change.
QNet’s business has helped many women in their journey to entrepreneurship. Once these fledgeling entrepreneurs find their footing, they are strongly encouraged to use their leverage to help others in need, to give back to the community around them. In other words, business success and self-empowerment are not ends unto themselves, but rather steps toward making a wider difference—toward making the world a better place.
QNet is the proud sponsor of the BIMSTEC-SAARC WOMEN ECONOMIC FORUM organised by ASSOCHAM in New Delhi on Jan 13, 2017.