Finweek English Edition - - COVER STORY -

Re­searchers at Ox­ford Univer­sity’s Saïd Busi­ness School il­lus­trated the im­mense im­pact that fi­nan­cial au­ton­omy can have on the lives of SA’s most eco­nom­i­cally vul­ner­a­ble women. Sur­vey­ing 300 black Avon in­de­pen­dent dis­trib­u­tors, the re­searchers found that af­ter 16 months or more, th­ese pre­vi­ously dis­ad­van­taged women were earn­ing enough not only to meet their house­hold ex­penses, but their in­come put them in the top half of black woman and on par with black South African men.

Nearly seven out of 10 sur­vey re­spon­dents lived in house­holds where a woman was t he pri­mary bread­win­ner. The im­pact ex­tended well be­yond just lift­ing women out of poverty; the re­spon­dents felt em­pow­ered. In a coun­try in which just 38% of black women have ac­cess to bank­ing, 92% of Avon women had their own bank ac­count and a sim­i­lar num­ber said that they had learned skills from Avon that could be trans­ferred to other em­ploy­ment.

Pro­fes­sor Linda Scott, who led the project, com­mented: “I was not pre­pared for the way the women felt about it. We came to call it ‘ lip­stick evan­ge­lism’.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.