The earning potential available to millions of women mitigates against these barriers and provides them with the opportunity to share in Avon’s success.
- Beauty brand Avon launches its Global Progress for Women Report, shining a light on women’s lived experiences of equality and choice in the world of work and money.
- Report highlights inequalities that women believe are holding them back from reaching their full potential.
- South African women sampled in the survey scored higher on some metrics relating to obstacles that hamper entrepreneurship and access to flexible working opportunities.
- Over a third of women surveyed believe access to setting up your own business favours men
New research from beauty brand Avon reveals that South African women score the highest compared with their global counterparts sampled on the impediments they believe they face that hinders them from reaching their full potential financially and at work.
The findings of this global report were released on the eve of the global commemoration of International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8.
The global research indicated that lack of flexible working opportunities (48%), earned income (46%) and the ability to start their own business (29%) are among the biggest inequalities that women believe they face.
The global consumer research has been conducted in Avon’s key markets to understand women’s lived experiences when it comes to choice and freedom, highlighting where there are still disparities and where we need to make progress.
The research has been conducted across 7,000 women in seven key Avon markets – UK, Poland, Romania, Italy, South Africa, Turkey, and the Philippines. The sample size for each market is 1,000 women. The research was also supported by The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) report on Gender Equality, which provides data and league tables on how different countries are addressing progress for women, including economic participation, education, health, and political achievement.
Obstacles to entrepreneurship
According to the WEF, female entrepreneurship is growing around the world, with between eight and 10 million small and medium-sized enterprises across the developing world having at least one female owner. Despite this, men still outnumber women three to one when it comes to business ownership.
82% of South African women sampled believe that the escalating cost of living has negatively impacted their finances compared to 76% of other participants in the research.
Progress to be made
While data from the WEF suggests that the global gender gap narrowed by 68.1% over the past year, it also suggests that at this rate of progress, it will take 132 years to reach full parity. Whilst measurable structural progress has been made, Avon’s research finds that women’s lived experiences show there is still much work to do.
South African women scored higher on other metrics.
About 91% of South African women that participated in the survey believed that stereotypes biased in favour of men are a barrier to equal opportunities compared to 86%, while 39% of South African women believed that access to setting up a business favours men, compared to 35% of their global counterparts.
The survey found that 88% of South African women also indicated that they would like to earn more money compared to 77% average of other women sampled in the survey.
“The findings of this research vindicate some of the interventions that Avon has put in place to advance women empowerment. As an organisation for women, we have unashamedly advocated for the removal of barriers that hamper women from reaching their full potential. Avon’s hugely successful direct selling model has provided an earning potential to millions of women around the world. While we concede that childcare responsibilities may hamper the career progression of many women, we have provided women with the flexibility to be mothers and leverage the power of online and digital platforms while they earn an income.
“We are cognisant that access to finance remains one of the biggest challenges to setting up and sustaining small and medium sized businesses. We have intervened in this requirement be helping women establish their own businesses without the worry of investing a huge capital outlay upfront. In addition to this, we also provide our representatives with the requisite technical support to maximise their chances of success. Our Representatives can supplement their income and mitigate against the rising costs of living by selling high quality and affordable beauty and personal care brands that have won the hearts and minds of millions of women around the world,” says Mafahle Mareletse, Managing Director: Avon Justine Turkey, Middle East & Africa.
Angela Cretu, CEO of Avon comments: “Study after study has shown us that when women are empowered and engaged, all of society benefits – a better world for women is a better world for all. Whilst some countries are taking positive steps forward, many women are still experiencing barriers when it comes to freedom of choice, work, and the opportunity to earn.
“We want to change that. For over 135 years, driving positive change for women has been hard-wired into Avon’s business: every time you buy a lipstick you are helping to support a female entrepreneur. Removing the barriers to economic participation that women face is crucial to helping drive progress for women. On International Women’s Day there is no better time to shine a light on this and open up the conversation.”
 The research was conducted by Censuswide with (7145 women across the UK, Italy, Romania, Poland, Philippines, Turkey and South Africa) between 18.01.2023 – 23.01.2023.