Direct selling is one of the fastest growing sectors in India, contributing remarkably to employment generation in the country. During the pandemic, it has played an important role in providing alternative employment opportunities to people, empowering them financially during tough times. Over the years, direct selling has also helped millions of women achieve financial independence and opened up livelihood opportunities for them, enabling them to overcome societal limitations and will contribute to the achievement of gender equality.
Today, women around the world dominate the direct selling industry and have been the driving force behind the model’s success. This gives them ample opportunity to earn and contribute not only to their household incomes, but also to the country’s economic wealth. The last two years have seen a dramatic increase in the number of women, particularly housewives, joining the direct selling workforce. According to a report by the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA), the growth of the direct selling industry in India has an estimated 53 percent of women entrepreneurs as they are actively involved in the over $1.5 billion industry. While most sectors in India struggle to increase women’s participation, direct selling already boasts more than 53 percent of women entrepreneurs. The numbers speak volumes about the role direct selling plays in women’s economic empowerment.
Direct selling helps women in many ways including
Direct selling allows women to take charge of their careers and use the opportunity and skills to gain financial independence. It gives them the freedom to live on their own terms. By empowering women in the economy, direct selling contributes to building a stronger economy because when women earn, they drive growth and create a more inclusive economy characterized by low level of income inequality.
- Building confidence and cultivating entrepreneurial skills
The expansion of direct selling has been most successful in engaging women in a framework that hones their marketing, communication and coaching skills, leading to the development of an engaged workforce that helps boost sales, resulting in more -economic success of the participants and the organization. Many organizations offer skill development workshops and other initiatives that help women boost their confidence and equip them with the right kind of knowledge. While these workshops provide much-needed networking skills to both men and women, they specifically play the role of a confidence booster for women entering the workforce for the first time. It helps in creation saleswomen of today and tomorrow and many have become frontrunners in direct selling businesses.
Women are multitaskers because they also have many roles to perform. Direct selling opportunities allow them to up-skill themselves and earn a living, while working flexi-hours and having the convenience of operating from home, thus giving them the much-needed balance in work-life. A dedicated effort of just two hours a day over a period of time can result in exponential gains.
Unlike other businesses, in the direct selling business, there is only a small cost involved to enter. Companies involved in direct selling business bear the investment risk but share the profits when it comes to marketing. This makes it a worthwhile employment option for women, who, apart from opportunities, guidance, and mentoring, also reap significant returns in terms of financial rewards for their hard work.
The direct selling sector holds promise for women as it effectively promotes entrepreneurship and self-employment. It empowers women by expanding their economic horizons. Progress has become a symbol of self-reliance, giving many women rays of hope and wings of freedom towards a better future.
The views expressed above are those of the author.
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