'Shoppowerment' empowers working women!

It was a regular weekend. My husband was sitting on the couch, relaxed and lazily browsing through the TV channels, not holding even for a minute on any channel. It was a time of envy for me; would have been for any wife! I was struggling (supposedly cooking) in the kitchen, in the midst of spice, flavor and drippings.

And then he calls “Wifey, come watch this, you might like it”. Intrigued, I went to see what was so interestingly screened on the TV! Well, it was the movie ‘Confessions of a shopaholic’. I sat for some time glued to the TV. And my guy says, “You also buy and stock things, don’t you? You even shop at the pharmaceuticals, buying and storing medicines for no particular reason”. Believe me, I justified my shopping behavior to my husband, but the movie kept me thinking.

I always shopped for the thrill of it; it gives so much happiness and a sense of pride to shop from your hard earned money. Many studies state that women shop for stress relief, to fight depression and to keep away from anxiety. They shop to the extent of building debts and lose control of their financial standings.

Contrary to this, I believed that shopping empowers women. I wanted to see what other women have to say about this and hence my friends and I decided to do a small study about the shopping behavior of women in Muscat, Oman.

The following are excerpts from the research paper (Published in International Journal of Consumerism, 2013, Vol 2 No 2) :

The study aimed at focusing on the positive side of women’s shopping behavior. It looked at shopping behavior as giving empowerment, freedom and satisfaction to women. This was a descriptive study conducted among working women (different nationalities) in Muscat, Oman

• Those earning salary in the range of OMR 1001 – 1500 had scored high on total Shoppowerment mean value showing that they had stronger perceptions of empowerment, freedom & decision making and shopping for corporate needs than respondents from other income group.

• Perception on empowerment or the feelings of getting empowered as a result of shopping was seen to be high among respondents of 41 years & above age group, among nationalities like Filipinos, Sudanese, Iraqis and American and among postgraduates. Those who were 41 years and above also had higher emotional fulfillment, freedom and decision making powers and reasons for shopping for corporate needs than other respondents.

• It was seen that shopping preferences was high among 31 - 40 years age group and the single/unmarried group shopped more for satisfying personal needs.

Though the study touched upon the problems associated with shopping behavior, it clearly showed that contrary to people’s belief that shopping is a reflex behavior, a compulsive disorder or a stress reliever, shopping in fact, enhances women’s empowerment and gives her a sense of freedom and liberty.

Therefore, it can be concluded that shopping creates a feeling of worthiness and contentment among women. It need not be seen as an unpleasant act by irresponsible women.

For a sample questionnaire to study the shopping preferences of women, click on ‘Questionnaires - Samples’

Be God’s and Be Good!