Enterprise and Inequality: A Study of Avon in South Africa

Authors

  • Linda Scott,

    Corresponding author
    1. Said Business School, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
      Linda Scott, tel.: +44(0)1865-288-800; e-mail: Linda.Scott@sbs.ox.ac.uk, to Catherine Dolan at Catherine.Dolan@sbs.ox.ac.uk, to Mary Johnstone-Louis at Mary.Johnstone-Louis@sbs.ox.ac.uk, to Kimberly Sugden at Kim.Sugden@sbs.ox.ac.uk, and to Maryalice Wu at malice@illinois.edu.
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  • Catherine Dolan,

    Corresponding author
    1. Said Business School, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
      Linda Scott, tel.: +44(0)1865-288-800; e-mail: Linda.Scott@sbs.ox.ac.uk, to Catherine Dolan at Catherine.Dolan@sbs.ox.ac.uk, to Mary Johnstone-Louis at Mary.Johnstone-Louis@sbs.ox.ac.uk, to Kimberly Sugden at Kim.Sugden@sbs.ox.ac.uk, and to Maryalice Wu at malice@illinois.edu.
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  • Mary Johnstone-Louis,

    Corresponding author
    1. Said Business School, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
      Linda Scott, tel.: +44(0)1865-288-800; e-mail: Linda.Scott@sbs.ox.ac.uk, to Catherine Dolan at Catherine.Dolan@sbs.ox.ac.uk, to Mary Johnstone-Louis at Mary.Johnstone-Louis@sbs.ox.ac.uk, to Kimberly Sugden at Kim.Sugden@sbs.ox.ac.uk, and to Maryalice Wu at malice@illinois.edu.
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  • Kimberly Sugden,

    Corresponding author
    1. Said Business School, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
      Linda Scott, tel.: +44(0)1865-288-800; e-mail: Linda.Scott@sbs.ox.ac.uk, to Catherine Dolan at Catherine.Dolan@sbs.ox.ac.uk, to Mary Johnstone-Louis at Mary.Johnstone-Louis@sbs.ox.ac.uk, to Kimberly Sugden at Kim.Sugden@sbs.ox.ac.uk, and to Maryalice Wu at malice@illinois.edu.
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  • Maryalice Wu

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, USA
      Linda Scott, tel.: +44(0)1865-288-800; e-mail: Linda.Scott@sbs.ox.ac.uk, to Catherine Dolan at Catherine.Dolan@sbs.ox.ac.uk, to Mary Johnstone-Louis at Mary.Johnstone-Louis@sbs.ox.ac.uk, to Kimberly Sugden at Kim.Sugden@sbs.ox.ac.uk, and to Maryalice Wu at malice@illinois.edu.
    Search for more papers by this author

Linda Scott, tel.: +44(0)1865-288-800; e-mail: Linda.Scott@sbs.ox.ac.uk, to Catherine Dolan at Catherine.Dolan@sbs.ox.ac.uk, to Mary Johnstone-Louis at Mary.Johnstone-Louis@sbs.ox.ac.uk, to Kimberly Sugden at Kim.Sugden@sbs.ox.ac.uk, and to Maryalice Wu at malice@illinois.edu.

Abstract

Avon's apparent success in using entrepreneurship to help women escape poverty, as well as its staying power in circumstances where similar efforts have failed, has captured the attention of the international development community. This study, the first independent empirical investigation, reports that in South Africa, Avon helps some impoverished women earn a better income and inspires empowerment among them. The authors introduce a new theory, pragmatist feminism, to integrate past work on women's entrepreneurship and argue that feminist scholars should reexamine the histories of the market democracies for replicable innovations that may have empowered women.

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