Historically, women’s financial contribution to the household was often considered vital to the family’s economic stability. However, women were seldom in charge of funds (Silverstein and Sayre 2009). Many socio-economic changes during the past decades have transformed the dynamics of the gendered marketplace and put women in control of $4.3 trillion every year (Silverstein and Sayre 2009). Females’ enormous purchasing power has affected their decisions to enter the housing market and more women than ever are buying homes. The share of single female home buyers has also increased and makes up 20% of homes purchased (Joint Center of Housing Studies 2005). The role of women as home owners and heads of households has changed the dynamics in which women engage in do-it-yourself (DIY) behavior. Although limited research has addressed women’s engagement in DIY activities, one recent survey reports that women are taking a greater share in home improvement, upkeep, and maintenance activities (MedeliaMonitor 2009). Also, home improvement giant, Lowe’s, discovered that women initiate 80 percent of all home improvement projects (Lowe’s 2003).This recent shift in female consumers DIY practices lead us to investigate the way women engage in DIY activities and the meanings they experience through their consumption practices. Initial informal dialogues with female DIY consumers lead us to the empowerment literature. The marketing literature addresses consumer empowerment in two ways. First, consumer empowerment is defined as giving consumers power through resources such as greater information or better understanding of processes involved in the creation of offerings (Harrison et al. 2006). Second, consumer empowerment is defined as a subjective experience caused by perceptions of increased control through choices (Wathieu et al. 2002). A central and interesting feature of empowerment is the close association with resistance to cultural norms. According to Shaw (2001) empowerment is a central characteristic of resistance that enables women to create new opportunities and identities, which are not automatically assigned by traditional gender norms. The concept of female empowerment has received little attention in marketing. The current study intends to fill this gap and explores the concept of female empowerment in the light of women practicing DIY behavior.
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- Female Consumers: Empowerment Through Diy Consumption
Pia A. Albinsson