Avon in Africa: Cosmetics Consumption and Women’S Empowerment Through Trade

Linda Scott, University of Oxford, UK
Catherine Dolan, University of Oxford, UK
This presentation reports first results of a three-year South African study funded by the Department for International Development and the Economics and Social Science Research Council (United Kingdom). Multiple methods examine how trading manufactured cosmetics may alleviate poverty and foster empowerment among women. Beauty products are experiencing phenomenal growth in emergent markets, and offer low risk opportunities for poor women to become entrepreneurs, even where capital, infrastructure, and institutional frameworks are weak. Further, their stereotypically feminine nature, particularly when delivered through traditional female trading circles, may protect women from the domestic violence that often meets efforts to empower them.
[ to cite ]:
Linda Scott and Catherine Dolan (2009) ,"Avon in Africa: Cosmetics Consumption and Women’S Empowerment Through Trade", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 154-156.