The “anonymity” of e-commerce has reduced many of the barriers to entry women traditionally face and given them the opportunity to thrive in new industries, Amy Luinstra, head of the gender program of the company, told CNBC on Thursday. ‘IFC for East Asia and the Pacific.
Yet many of the inequalities women face in the traditional retail space “spill over into the online world,” she said, such as access to finance.
Luinstra called on the big players in e-commerce to do more to support female salespeople and seize the market opportunity.
“For platforms that offer funding options, this is a great way to attract more women and help them thrive by making sure they are aware of funding offers and can take advantage of them. Luinstra told CNBC. “Squawk Box Asia. ”
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The IFC report, which draws on data collected from Southeast Asian e-commerce site Lazada, found that in 2019, women were on track to achieve gender parity. in electronic commerce. But even with the boom in online retailing over the past year or so, the extra caring duties and time pressures women faced have caused progress to decline.
“Before the pandemic, women were coping – in some cases overtaking men and even… participating men,” Luinstra said.
In the Philippines, for example, women previously made up 64% of sellers on Lazada’s site, but their sales fell 27% during the pandemic, according to the report.
“That has changed under the pandemic and this is how we start to close the gap, and the opportunity to close that gap, that’s the big number of $ 280 billion,” she said, making reference to the market opportunity mentioned in the report.