Female economy

The twenty first century has seen the elevated extension of the world economy. As years progress changes have been inevitable as issues such as the financial crisis wreak havoc with economies. Following this, researchers are focusing their studies on how best to penetrate the current market and emerge unscathed despite the prevalent challenges. It is from this point of view that Sayre and Silverstein (2009) sought to examine the place of women in today’s market. In their article they explore the predicament facing women and companies due to the latter’s failure to acknowledge the power women possess. Women are increasingly dominating the world’s market and as drivers of the world economy, they demand attention from product and service companies. Estimated to control almost $20trillion in annual consumer expenditure, they are a neglected consumer group resulting in hefty untapped opportunities.

The article indicates that a majority of women feel highly underserved and sidelined by product companies. This is despite the current and growing stature of women in the society. Women have become quite powerful due to the effects of education, leadership opportunities and career opportunities. It is no longer a world where most women were uneducated; currently women dominate half of global students and this enhances their capacities for choice of consumption. Furthermore, most women are seeking to advance their career opportunities and employment is accompanied by elements of dynamic consumption needs. In the study, it is eminent that women face challenges in managing their households and finances, having too many demands and the lack of enough time for themselves. Right here is a loophole for companies to capitalize and serve women with regard to their specific needs. Sayre and Silverstein (2009) emphasize that companies must learn the strategies of selling to women especially because their dominance is bound to accrue large profits.

A comprehensive research study requires a concrete research problem. In Sayre and Silverstein (2009), the researchers aimed at understanding how women feel about their work and lives and how they were served by businesses. Even though the stated research problem detailed indicated the appropriate form of research methodology to be used it did not indicate the overall subject of the study. Walliman (2006, p.67) argue that hypotheses used in constructing the research problem should emerge from logical deductions from a background research of the topic. However, the article does not use ample background research as no literature review is evident in the study. In addition, while the study is keen to address the fact that women dominate today’s market the research problem does not draw a connection to this fact. The research problem guides one into conceptualizing the appropriate form of research methodology and as the article progresses it is evident that qualitative methods were most appropriate.

The study chose to use qualitative research methods in understanding women’s needs and their feelings on the services offered by businesses. Qualitative research is suitable in such studies which seek to understand issues comprehensively and whose qualitative data cannot accomplish the same. As asserted by Ragin (1994, p.83) qualitative research emphasizes on in-depth knowledge and a refined elaboration of images, concepts and overall perceptions. In the study, the qualitative research methods used were the questionnaire and interview methods. All these methods were web based with most of the participants being required to access web services and undertake the interviews. The web survey posted in the consultancy group’s website attracted more than 12 000 women from a vast range of geographies. The survey contained a questionnaire with 120 questions about different aspects of women’s lives. Such aspects included homes, careers, education, relationships, interests and activities among others. This form of survey gives anonymity to participants who then feel uncompromised in answering the questions given. In addition it targets a wide range of participants and thus increases the validity of research results as participants are diverse and unbiased. The web survey was in tandem with the research goal as the questions addressed the research problem and even heightened the research’s effect through a diversified response.

As a qualitative research method, the interview presents a unique form of conversation where the interviewer seeks to understand various items in the participant’s point of view. Internet interviewing provides for a suitable interviewing technique. With the similar advantage of anonymity, the researcher can seek answers from participants through email and other chat services. The study used internet interviewing in their study of women working in various organizations. Hewson (2003, p.45) observes that internet interviewing may limit the researcher from accessing nonverbal information expressed by participants. In a situation where the research clearly embarks on a mission of comprehensiveness, this might be a shortfall in the study. Interview conversations need to be highly structured and this prompts researchers to design specific interview questions in order to guide the process.

In any research study, it is expected that various procedures are undertaken as a way of ensuring the comprehensiveness and credibility of the study. At the onset of research preparations are made on how to acquire research participants. While the article underlies the target of the survey to be women, it fails to stipulate protocol for sampling. This open web survey received responses from women and the conducted interviews were similarly addressed to women. The article’s failure to outline the sampling procedure lives room for speculation and skepticism on the research’s validity and reliability. Regardless of the sampling misdemeanors, this open form of web survey attracted a sample of participants who fit in with the research outcomes perfectly.

Ethical considerations in carrying out research are an integral part of any research study. Its importance is quite pertinent and omitting it may lead to dire consequences. In the article, there are no indications of any ethical underpinnings to the study. The web survey does not provide any contractual agreement detailing the object of the research and reasons for research. Whether in the web survey or interviews carried out by the researcher, they are required to make the potential research participant understand their role in the research process. Bell (2005, p.45) argues that it is insufficient when the interviewer just displays the contract and expects the participant to sign it. Seeking consent of the participants is important and the article has no evidence that these measures were taken. In the view of a lack of consent or infringed privacy, researchers are liable to facing legal repercussions which may waylay their research. Moreover, as an interviewer it is crucial to ask questions in a respectful manner which takes into consideration the various characteristics of the participants. Dealing with internet interviews may require one to infer on the appropriate time for the interview and researchers should take any recommendations respectfully. In cases of any shortcomings caused by ineffective ethical considerations, the article should have stated so. Despite this, the web survey allowed participants to engage in the study at their own time and the questions used were in no way inappropriate.

Following the study the article chose six archetypes which were observed to be common amongst respondents. It is through these common characteristics that the data collected was analyzed. The data analysis is not clearly detailed as the procedures undertaken in compiling and evaluating the various responses are not outlined. The article immediately embarks on presenting the research results and findings. The six archetypes included fast-tracker, pressure cooker, relationship focused; managing on her own, fulfilled empty nester and making ends meet (Silverstein, 2009, p.49). With reference to each of these aspects, the article expounds on the factors which make women the largest consumers with regard to the products from the specific industries. Using these segments was instrumental in establishing the kind of consumers marketers in companies should aim to target. It is similarly advantageous to understand what consumers are looking for in the market and their specific needs.

The key segments were well presented in a chart describing their income levels, age and stages of life. The article also extensively presents the portion of the population each type of women occupied and the percentage of overall income possessed. The article further indicated the priorities and needs of the women in each segment which gives marketers an idea of the most appropriate consumer goods for them. In the industries which presented the largest opportunities like food, fitness, beauty and apparel, women voiced their views on their experiences with these industries. For instance, women were seen to value fitness highly but it always tends to take a backseat in their lives. The reason behind this was the fact that most women often prioritized other people’s needs before their own. Thus, the lack of time provided an opportunity for fitness centers to derive fitness sessions which were less time consuming. On the other hand, the study also included responses on such industries as financial services and healthcare where women felt neglected and underserved. Considering that women’s income margins are quite high and they continue to rise, they are required to access effective financial services. Women cited disrespect, stereotyping, poor advice and contradictory policies as some of the characteristics of financial institutions. It was clear that these institutions needed to review their approaches and embark on a marketing strategy aimed at keeping women customers happy.

The conclusions made in the article are derived from a logical and comprehensive evaluation of the research findings. The article draws from insights on the future outlook of the world’s economy and the effects of the ever growing female workforce. The future of most companies lies at the hand of women as they make up the majority of the world’s consumer spenders. Furthermore, as the research sought to answer the research questions it studies various segments which define women and their consumer needs. As the article concludes that women will continue to experience challenges in such areas, companies must target the specific needs of women. Women are seen to respond to services which encourage love, care and respect which provide a clear picture of what companies should do in order to accrue more sales. The article has in no way illustrated limitations for the research which indicates a subjective form of study. It is crucial to indicate shortcomings of a study and cite areas where more research should be carried out. Nevertheless, the article is indeed quite informative and provides ample insights for marketers and companies dealing with women consumers.

References

Bell, J. (2005). Doing your Research Project: A Guide for First Time Researchers in Educationand Social Science. Berkshire: Open University Press.

Hewson, C. (2003). Internet Research Methods: A Practical Guide for the Social and Behavioral Science. London: Sage Publications Ltd.

Ragin, C.C. (1994). Constructing Social Research: The Unity and Diversity of Method. California: Pine Forge Press.

Sayre, K., and Silverstein, M.J. (September, 2009). “The Female Economy” Harvard Business Review. hbr.org

Walliman, N. (2006). Social Research Methods. London: Sage Publications Ltd.

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