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  • By: LazBeat Staff
  • Mar 10, 2023

How ECommerce Empowers Women – and the Wider Economy

Monalisa Gao is proof that women can, indeed, have it all. After graduating from college, she started a successful consumer electronics business that expanded to 15 physical stores across the Philippines. Wanting to spend more time with her daughter and husband, she retired early from her business in 2013 but didn’t lose her entrepreneurial spirit.

During a trip to China that same year to visit her friends and extended family, she was introduced to Taobao and became fascinated with how easy it was to shop for a wide assortment of products. Upon her return to the Philippines, Gao became determined to bring that same ease of eCommerce shopping to local consumers. She turned to Lazada, the first and only digital commerce platform available in the Philippines at the time, and kick-started her online journey by opening Lucky HR, which became the first store on Lazada to sell consumer electronics.

Today, Gao is one of the top sellers on Lazada. Not only does she manage the Lucky HR store, she also overlooks a 1,000-square-meter warehouse.

“I am grateful that eCommerce has given me a meaningful way to juggle work and family. And I am proud to be financially independent through the fruits of my labor,” Gao said.


Increasing Opportunities for Women in ECommerce

Gao’s journey is one of many successful stories from female entrepreneurs on Lazada’s platform. In many ways, the eCommerce industry presents unique opportunities for female entrepreneurs. A report by the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation found that women in Southeast Asia are more likely than men to tap into the potential of eCommerce, as the efficiency, flexibility and low barriers of running an online business empower them to pursue their careers without sacrificing time with their loved ones. In fact, according to the report, women make up half of all active eCommerce entrepreneurs in the region. In Vietnam and Indonesia, the rate of female entrepreneurial activity has even exceeded that of men.

As more women in Southeast Asia leverage online commerce to start and grow their businesses, Lazada has responded by working with strategic partners across the six markets it operates in to develop relevant support programs and initiatives.

For example, the eCommerce platform’s tech-powered operating tools make the digital transition for women as seamless as possible. Its learning platform, Lazada University, further equips female entrepreneurs with the right tools and knowledge to thrive in eCommerce.

The platform also partners with banks and finance companies to provide female business owners with access to capital not available through traditional avenues. Lazada also works with various government agencies and non-profit organizations to support women. In March 2022, it collaborated with the Malaysian Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development to introduce LazEmpower, a series of workshops aimed at upskilling women from marginalized and low-income communities. It has launched similar initiatives in Indonesia and the Philippines.

There are many upsides to empowering women in eCommerce. Research has shown that women’s economic success boosts productivity, increases economic diversification and income equality in addition to other positive development outcomes. As such, by investing in a healthy ecosystem that supports female business owners, we as a society all stand to benefit.

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