NEW YORK, Nov. 16, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Euro RSCG Worldwide has released the results of its latest global study in the Prosumer Report white paper entitled "Gender Shift: Are Women the New Men?" The study surveyed a total of 3,000 respondents across China, France, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States, looking at the millennial generation through the prism of gender and seeking to understand the direction in which this cohort will advance society in years to come. The findings in this release will focus on millennials in the three developed nations in the West due to the very different cultural, political, and economic realities of India and China.
Young females in the developed markets of the West overall demonstrated that they are out of step with the world created by their feminist mothers. The notion of an outright battle of the sexes is no longer relevant for young women, according to the study, and they don't consider their rights a cause to be fought or perceive their decisions and life choices as having an impact on women as a whole. Today's young woman is focused on individual achievement and satisfaction.
This sense of individualism has resulted in a very clear objective for young adults today: happiness, or love. When asked what happiness means to them, a majority of woman and a plurality of men in each of the three markets answered: Happiness means love. This is an important shift from a time when money and power were the coveted prizes at the end of the rat race. What young men and women want today appears to be something their parents may have taken for granted.
"Many of us have suspected a real shift in gender roles and attitudes over the past decade but haven't really defined what this means. Following this study, it's clear that the gender wars of the past are no more and that millennials view gender in a totally different way than their parents' generation did. This has a massive effect on global business and, especially, on marketers," said Marian Salzman, president of Euro RSCG Worldwide PR, North America.
Highlights of the study include:
- Looking beyond the job: The relative youth of the sample (aged 18 to 25) means most respondents were unlikely to be parents at the time of the survey (average age of first parenthood in the U.S. is now 25 for women and nearly 27 for men). Nevertheless, the millennial females surveyed were more likely than males to emphasize life-work balance over salary when choosing a job. In the United Kingdom only a quarter of men, but more than four in 10 women, cite life-work balance as their number one priority in job selection.
- What women really want: Women are less likely than men to value work as a means of being useful to society and more likely to see it as a means of personal fulfillment, suggesting a more insular focus on self and family. Wanting it "all" seems to encapsulate family and personal time at least as much as career success.
- Pining for chivalry: When asked whether "men should be the ones to lead and initiate in romance," females were significantly more likely to agree than disagree with the statement, whereas men in two of the three markets rejected the notion. Young woman don't wish a return to male domination, but they are showing signs of wanting a return to gender distinctions.
- Nostalgia for tradition doesn't extend to paychecks: While a degree of yearning for traditional gender roles exists among young women, tradition didn't extend to the content of pay stubs. Only a minority of millennials believe a man should earn more than his female partner. This sentiment was most common among American men (30% of whom feel this way) and least evident among women in France (6%).
- Age of Narcissus: Having a baby has become a channel of self-promotion and family branding. Time that once would have been spent catering to hubby's every need is now devoted to posting photos of the little ones on Facebook and blogging about virtually every moment of motherhood.
The question we all must face is whether men and women can move forward in a way that is mutually fulfilling now that gender roles and traditions have been turned on their head.
For marketers, the question is also: "How do we best communicate with young men and women about issues related to gender?" Euro RSCG's study points to the following changes in tone and content:
- Stop man-bashing: Judging from the content of TV commercials and sitcoms, men are a sorry lot. It's a wonder they're able to brush their teeth without the supervision and assistance of their far-more-capable wives. While the bumbling, skill-deficient guy may be good for a laugh, young people want to see demonstrations of male strength and responsibility. Let's show more role models and fewer buffoons.
- Toss out gender prescriptions: It's hard to imagine who at a U.K. supermarket chain thought it was a good idea to label a line of children's dress-up costumes by gender. But there they were: the pilot, superhero, and soldier costumes labeled "Boy" and the princess, beautician, and nurse costumes labeled "Girl." Pinkstinks and other advocacy groups are calling for an end to the "culture of pink"—which puts girls into a box centered on beauty rather than brains or aptitude—and challenges the tendency to create separate boys' and girls' versions of even the most basic products (pink world globe, anyone?). Let's listen to them.
- Reflect the blurring of gender lines: Gender distinctions are no longer set in stone. Professional sports leagues are targeting women. Men are enjoying herbal wraps at their local day spa. It only makes sense to move away from "either/or" in favor of "and." Dolce & Gabbana's Anthology fragrance line, for men and women, includes five scents based on the Tarot, each one intended to reveal a particular side of the wearer's personality: le bateleur (the seducer), l'imperatrice (the star), l'amoureux (the charmer), la roue de la fortune (the player), and la lune (the dreamer). The fragrances are for men and women, with print and TV advertising features well-known models of both sexes.
- Let women be human: Trashy and trendy brand Diesel shows both young males and females in its latest ad campaign: "Be Stupid." The ads speak to a state of mind that's all about a carefree attitude and enjoying life. The ads stand out, in part, because of their inclusion of women. Sometimes a woman really is "just one of the guys."
- Don't count out courtliness: Just because we're living in a more egalitarian society doesn't mean women—and men—don't value a chivalrous turn. Young males and females appreciate those everyday acts of courtesy that create a connection between two strangers—extending a hand to someone who has fallen, offering a seat on the bus, doing some small act that reminds us of our shared humanity and of what really matters in our frantically paced world. Chivas, maker of premium scotch whiskey, has created a campaign under the tagline, "Here's to Chivalry." And our Dos Equis' "The Most Interesting Man in the World" campaign speaks to the point that refinement and the social graces are part of what makes a man a "real man." Both welcome reminders that gallantry and valor are not the sole province of Jacob and Edward from the Twilight series.
- Acknowledge the new couples paradigm: Speak to the new reality of male-female household partnerships by spotlighting the couple as successful brand or company—depicting how the two work together to manage the day-to-day workload (home, kids, jobs), keep the venture (family) moving forward, and increase profits (family happiness/satisfaction). Rather than depicting a dominant/subordinate or capable/incapable scenario, show how each person's strengths combine to create a stronger whole.
Prosumer Reports are a series of thought leadership publications by Euro RSCG Worldwide—part of a global initiative to share information and insights, including our own proprietary research, across the Euro RSCG network of agencies and client companies. For more information about Prosumer Reports and to download the "Gender Shift: Are Women the New Men?" white paper, please visit www.prosumer-report.com.
About Euro RSCG Worldwide
Euro RSCG Worldwide, a leading integrated marketing communications agency and Advertising Age's and Campaign's 2006 Global Agency of the Year, is made up of 233 offices located in 75 countries throughout Europe, North America, Latin America, and Asia-Pacific. Euro RSCG provides advertising, marketing services, corporate communications, and interactive solutions to global, regional and local clients. The agency's client roster includes Air France, BNP Paribas, Charles Schwab, Citigroup, Danone Group, Heineken USA, IBM, Jaguar, Kraft Foods, Lacoste, L'Oreal, Merck, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Pernod Ricard, Reckitt Benckiser and sanofi-aventis. Headquartered in New York, Euro RSCG Worldwide is the largest unit of Havas, a world leader in communications (Euronext Paris SA: HAV.PA).
SOURCE Euro RSCG Worldwide