Publication - Women Sales Force: an Impactful Channel for Health-Related Products? Lessons Learned from Practitioners

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Title
Women Sales Force: an Impactful Channel for Health-Related Products? Lessons Learned from Practitioners
Publisher
Hystra
Author
Hystra
Published in
January 2022
Abstract
Women direct sales forces selling health-related products have often been assumed to be a panacea to achieve both health and income generation objectives at once. Women agents are seen as better positioned than men to promote behavior change around health and sell essential products to (women) consumers, due to their strong networks and skills in connecting with consumers. Further, these jobs enable them to earn an income, which is expected to be a key step toward their own economic empowerment. Given Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s focus on gender, this report was commissioned to complement a literature review conducted by The Global Center for Gender Equality, based at Stanford University. The purpose is to assess if last mile distribution direct sales force marketing models can indeed be a promising avenue for women’s economic empowerment. While The Global Center for Gender Equality identified five interesting case studies, they found that most existing evidence was anecdotal, with very few academic papers published on the topic – hence the request to look at other data sources to help confirm or challenge these assumptions.

In this context, the goal of this report is threefold: Moreover, “women direct sales force” refers to any type of semi-fixed or mobile sales force, in which predominantly women sales agents have direct interactions with consumers (including all three types of models above). 1) Understand when a (primarily or exclusively) women direct sales force can be the best tool to reach low-income (women) consumers; especially with health-related products 2) Assess what impact it can create for sales agents and consumers

3) Identify the unique requirements to make those models successful


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