New research from global beauty brand Avon reveals that women report they still face gender stereotypes when running a business compared to their male counterparts.

They say that they are seen as ‘too emotional’ (39%), ‘bossy’ (35%), ‘weak’ (26%) and ‘trying to be masculine’ (18%).

The research, which surveyed over 1,000 women in the UK, including over 100 that have started their own business, finds that nearly half of women (42%) believe there is less room for them to fail in the business world in comparison to men. 

For more than a quarter (28%) of women, one of the largest obstacles to them starting their own business is having a lack of confidence, followed by fear of failure (24%). In addition, two in five (41%) feel that as a woman they are more likely to have their confidence knocked by failure in the workplace than men.

With a legacy of championing women for more than 135 years, Avon has partnered with female business owner, Lydia Bright, to reframe what it means to be a female entrepreneur in 2022, improving access to opportunities for women to become their own beauty boss. 

Fail again, fail better

Despite fear of failure and confidence affecting women’s decision to start up their own business, Avon’s research reveals half (50%) of women believe failing is a crucial part of success, with half (50%) also agreeing it humanises leaders, making them more relatable. For women that already have their own businesses, the top area they feel they have failed is achieving the right balance of work and personal life (32%).

Gendered business terms

Despite growing popularity, research shows that women think gendered business terms such as ‘boss babe’ and ‘She-EO’ are out of touch. More than a quarter (26%) of women in the UK feel patronised by this language and are annoyed men do not have the same labels (24%) which are unnecessarily gendered (22%). 


Lydia Bright, Mum, lifestyle influencer and entrepreneur, comments:

Both of my parents were entrepreneurial, so I’ve always had that mindset and drive instilled in me. I’ve always felt so excited by coming up with an idea for a business and grabbing every opportunity to make it a success. The research shows we still have a way to go in dismantling certain barriers and misconceptions so that all women feel empowered to unleash their business ambitions, something I feel passionately about.

 “Once I became a mum, I realised how lucky I was to be in the position of working my own hours and having the flexibility to juggle both work and childcare. That’s why the Avon Rep opportunity is so convenient for busy women, as they can work whenever suits them, earn on their own terms, and fit it all around their existing routine.”


Tracey Powers, UK Sales Director for Avon comments:

“We’ve been championing women for more than 135 years to become their own bosses, but our research shows there is still more to do to improve access to opportunities, break down barriers and enhance the perception of women in business. Our global community of millions of Representatives earn and learn in their own way and on their own terms through a beauty business built on relationship selling; whether that be earning £30,000 a year as their main source of income or £30 a month to help treat themselves. As more people seek flexible earnings opportunities due to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, we’re seeing a real reappraisal for this direct selling model, allowing you to be in control of your own success and progression. 

“At Avon we continue to celebrate acts of entrepreneurship in all forms – from the spirit it takes to start out, to the everyday resilience women possess that helps them become their own boss.”






Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.