Chilipenok Yu. Yu., Gaponova O. S., Osipova O. S. Women in e-commerce: motives for choosing marketplaces as a career, p. 63-78

E-commerce is only one of the new directions that have emerged in the era of the digitalization of the economy. However, the trend is obvious: in the coming years, those specialists who can become a part of this process will be in demand on the labor market. Marketplaces are one of the most remarkable and rapidly growing e-commerce phenomena. E-commerce platforms and online stores do not only provide a meeting point for sellers and buyers, regardless of the territorial boundaries, but also contribute to the formation of a new stratum of specialists who have chosen e-commerce as their main professional activity, both as entrepreneurs who sell their goods through marketplaces, and as employees (account manag-ers) who provide and accompany this process. According to the experts from Wildberries, in 2021 the number of female entrepreneurs working on the marketplaces exceeded the number of male entrepreneurs, and it continues to grow. During our analysis of the statistics on the enrollment in the e-commerce courses provided by Wildberries, the authors found out that out of 3545 students (12 streams) who had taken the course in 2021—2022, 8,5 % were men and 91,5 % were women. Therefore, it can be said that marketplaces are gradually becoming the female sector of the digital economy, thus compensating for the gender imbalance in the ar-ea, where the priority role has traditionally belonged to men. In this article, the authors did not aim to determine the causes of this phenomenon. Such data provide an opportunity to look at the issue from a different angle, namely, to focus on the specific features of such a professional career trajectory for women, or, more precisely, on the motives for choosing it. The empirical base of the study consists of the interviews with the graduates of the Wildberries e-commerce school, conducted in November 2021 — February 2022. At the time of the study, this school provided trainings in two areas: creating one’s own retail business on the digital marketplace, and administering an online store on the Wildberries digital marketplace. And while the authors are limited to the described observation, it is still possible to say that a gender-shifted segment of the economy is emerging. In the course of this study, there has been a con-tinuous call-up of the graduates of the first seven streams of the school. A total of 671 people were interviewed, 614 of which were women, and their answers were used in the study. During a brief survey, the authors collected the information about the motives that drive people to choose this kind of a professional activity. The geography of the respondents covers various regions of the Russian Federation with a predominance of the Central, Volga and Southern federal districts. The minimum age of the respondents is 20 years, the maximum is 53 years. According to the results of the study, the authors can distinguish three main groups of motives that determined the women’s choice of such a career path: 1) their wish to start one’s own business, realize one’s own project without large start-up costs, or develop an existing business by going online; 2) their wish to increase one’s income and be financially independent from one’s husband; 3) their wish to be able to work regardless of one’s location and have a flexible schedule, which is a very popular motive nowadays. In the framework of a successful experience, the listed motives are achieved, and this is broadcast by women through their social networks, and, more widely, through the online schools. The latter seek to attract new students and advertise working on marketplaces as an opportunity to fulfill these typical motives. Another conclusion concerns the fact that until recently women, for many reasons, have not been involved in the digital economy on an equal basis with men. It is e-commerce that currently plays an important role in solving the problem of reducing the gender gap and fully including women in the development of the digital economy.
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