I get it. No one likes to be sold to. I too have been invited to one too many parties; one too many Facebook groups. I know the anxiety when I get a message from an acquaintance asking for my phone number. I don’t like to say no, and I try to be tactful, but sometimes I don’t get my point across. It is awkward putting this business between our friendship. So I get why you might be over it.
But here’s the thing. We should celebrate these direct selling businesses and our friends who are brave enough to take them on.
Most workplaces aren’t created for women to succeed. They cater to people who can tune out family responsibilities for multiple hours of the day. They cater to people who can be on the fast track to success – people who don’t feel the need to take time off to grow families. Workplaces opened their doors to women long ago, but few of them changed to accept the realities of this segment of the population.
It is a fact that women are leaving the workforce. In September 2013, the amount of women in the workforce matched the lowest that has been recorded in 24 years. We can’t just blame the economy. If it was the economy to blame, we would see this trend in men too. But women, specifically mothers, are feeling unsupported by their employers and pushed out of their careers.
The United States has one of the worst maternity policies out of all the developed countries. Women in the US face the choice to leave a newborn or stay home indefinitely. This is an obvious example of workplaces making it more difficult for women to work, but there are other policies that are a little more covert at pushing women out. Many workplaces put high importance on punching a clock when a policy of flexibility would actually work better at retaining women. And policies that restrict sick time and vacation time make it nearly impossible for families to care for children in daycare who get sick 8-12 times a year.
Meanwhile, women are 10 times more likely to stay home with sick children than their husbands.
It is important to note that having women in the workforce is beneficial for individual organizations and for society. And many families need mothers to contribute financially. So, there’s definitely a disconnect in the way society works for women and the way women want to work.
While there are some innovative companies that are making their workplaces more friendly to women, many women are finding that they need to create their own opportunities. Multilevel Marketing Companies (MLMs/direct selling) is one of the ways that women are empowering themselves to juggle work, childcare, and contributing to the family. Women can be in control of where, when, and how they work, and it takes a little investment to get started.
Each time I see a woman sharing her direct sales business on social media, I am proud of her. By choosing work that fits her needs and lifestyle, it is making a small statement to society that things aren’t working in the mainstream.
So I will not unfriend anyone who starts showing off their nails or their lashes or their plastic containers. I won’t share blog posts blasting these women. I won’t even leave the groups they add me to. I might not buy, but I do support. Their choice of job is bigger than my annoyance. It is an issue of feminism. I refuse to feel exploited by another woman’s empowerment.
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This post was written by Laura O’Rourke exclusively for BonBon Break Media, LLC.