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New Generation of Women Expects Gender Equality – as Economic Improvement Prompts Focus on the Future


Study by FleishmanHillard, Hearst and Ipsos Identifies Gen Y Women as First Truly Global Generation of Consumers; is ‘Battle of the Sexes’ a Foreign Concept for Gen Y Women?

LONDON, July 2, 2013 – As economic anxiety eases, women of all ages across the world are shifting priorities and charting the course for the future, according to a global research study published today.  The ‘Women, Power & Money’ study also suggests Gen Y women, aged 21-34, are the first truly global generation of consumers, with similar perspectives and marketplace preferences transcending borders and cultures, shaped by shared experiences of technology and social media.

“The influence of women on just about every aspect of home, workplace and marketplace continues to evolve and grow, with most generally satisfied with their lives. Though more educated but less well-paid than their spouses, there are signs that a new global generation of women is working hard to rectify that inequity,” said Holly Ward, Director and Partner, FleishmanHillard UK. “For Gen Y there is a simple, unspoken assumption that women can do anything men can do. The secret for brands is developing a greater empathy and understanding of women as individuals, not stereotypes.”

The study, an exploration into women’s lives, lifestyles and marketplace impact, was led by FleishmanHillard, the world’s most complete communications firm, and Hearst Magazines, the largest publisher of monthly magazines, with leading research company Ipsos MediaCT. It covered China, France, Germany, the UK and the US and examined differences between three generations of women (Gen Y, aged 21-34; Gen X, 35-49; and Boomers, 50-69).

Future Focus: Long-Term Path
In the five countries studied, as economic anxiety eases, women are more future-focused, shifting priorities and primary concerns from personal finances to longer-term concerns for self, family and business. In fact, UK women in every generation noted their top concern was ‘the future of [her] children,’ closely followed by some clear indicators of economic angst, ‘[her] household budget’ and ‘keeping [her] job.’

Women around the world are relatively satisfied with their family, home and self, though satisfaction dynamics vary across generation and aspects of life. While areas like relationships with their children, with friends, and their romantic life were viewed with satisfaction, career and finances were the lowest rated. In the UK this is understandable given that 65% feel they are worse off now financially than before the recession started.

In comparison to other countries, women in the UK were particularly satisfied with their friendships; but less so in areas such as mental/physical health and work-life balance.

Gen Y Women Feel Potential… and Pressure
It seems the ‘battle of the sexes’ is becoming a foreign concept to Gen Y women, who perceive greater gender equality in skills, opportunities and accomplishments , shaped by being raised with a ‘girls can do anything boys can do’ attitude.

Most women across generations describe themselves in positive, socially-oriented terms, with UK women more likely to use terms such as caring, friendly, happy, kind and practical about themselves, though in contrast 29% also described themselves as ‘stressed’ and 20% were ‘exhausted’.

More Gender Equality, But Not Yet Equal Pay
“Globally, the study finds that women have achieved an equality of aspiration, but not an equality of results,” said Dr. Stephen Kraus, senior vice president and chief insights officer of Ipsos MediaCT’s Audience Measurement Group. “She is the CEO of most households, and few would tell her that she can’t aspire to be the CEO of a corporation. But she realises that she faces an uphill battle.” 

In each of the five countries surveyed, more than 80% of women agree ‘men are often paid more than women, even for doing the same work’ (84% stated this in the UK, with Boomers feeling it most strongly at 89%) and about half agree that many men resent the advancements women have made in recent years (45% in the UK).

Overall, women see themselves as stronger than men in areas of ‘emotional strength’, such as having difficult conversations or rebounding from setbacks, and acknowledge that men often have more success in negotiating and proactively asking for salary increases. 59% of women believe men are better at proactively asking for salary increases and 63% assert that men are more successful in business generally.

Interestingly, Gen Y women tend to see more gender equality across all of these areas.

Country Comparisons
While women around the world have some things in common when it comes to home life, career and shopping habits, with women in the US and UK particularly similar, there are some key areas of difference:

  • In Germany, where smart shopping is a way of life, women are highly satisfied as consumers and are feeling relative economic strength. Counterparts in the UK and France are still feeling the economic pinch, while American women’s economic concerns are prevalent but easing.

  • Women in the UK are most open to trying new brands and also have a strong desire to help others make smart purchasing decisions.

  • French women have the strongest perceptions of gender equality in society and their households. German women note more gender specialisation in the home, but relatively equal opportunity in politics.

  • American women prefer spending on ‘experiences’ whereas French women prefer ’things’ and women in China and Germany expressed the strongest interest in luxury across a variety of categories.

“Working with brands for whom women are a key audience, such as P&G Clearblue, Little Tikes and Barnes & Noble NOOK in the UK, we understand that marketing to women requires a highly-tailored approach that takes the time to understand the opinions and the needs of different generations, cultures and roles,” added Ward. “All brands should take the time to examine how complex the lives and decision-making of women have become. Nothing less than a nuanced approach that embraces the mindsets, aspirations and assumptions of different generations will be successful.”

About the Study
“Women, Power & Money” Wave 5, Seizing the Future, was conducted online during February 2013, among 1,008 women in the U.S. aged 25-69 with an annual household income of $25,000 or more. For comparison purposes, 503 men were also surveyed. This comprehensive tracking study was first conducted in 2008. Wave 5 was broadened internationally, including some 750 interviews with women conducted in each country including the UK (n=761), France, Germany and China. In total, more than 4,500 interviews were completed. In addition, one-on-one in-depth interviews with a smaller group of women were completed to bring qualitative richness to the online data.

About FleishmanHillard
FleishmanHillard is the world’s most complete global communications firm, specializing in public relations, public affairs, marketing, paid media, and transmedia and social content. FleishmanHillard delivers on The Power of True, reflecting the firm’s high values, and unique ability to guide clients through a world demanding unprecedented authenticity and transparency. FleishmanHillard was named “Standout Agency” on Advertising Age’s 2013 A-List; NAFE’s “Top 50 Companies for Executive Women” for 2010-2013; Advertising Age’s 2012 “Best Places to Work”; and The Holmes Report’s 2012 Global “Public Affairs Agency of the Year.” The firm’s award-winning work is widely heralded, including at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity. FleishmanHillard is part of Diversified Agency Services, a division of Omnicom Group Inc., and has more than 80 offices in 29 countries, plus affiliates in 42 countries. Visit us at

About Diversified Agency Services
Diversified Agency Services (DAS), a division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE:OMC) (, manages Omnicom's holdings in a variety of marketing communications disciplines. DAS includes over 200 companies, which operate through a combination of networks and regional organizations, serving international and local clients through more than 700 offices in 71 countries.

About Hearst Magazines
Hearst Magazines is a unit of Hearst Corporation (, one of the nation's largest diversified media and information companies. With 20 titles in the U.S., Hearst is the leading publisher of monthly magazines in terms of total paid circulation (ABC 2012) and reaches 83 million adults (Fall 2012 GfK MRI). In addition, the company publishes nearly 300 editions around the world. Hearst Magazines Digital Media, dedicated to creating and implementing Hearst Magazines’ digital strategy, manages 26 websites for brands such as Cosmopolitan, Popular Mechanics, ELLE, ELLE DECOR, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire and Seventeen, as well as digital-only sites such as, a food site in partnership with MSN;; and Hearst Magazines has published more than 150 apps and digital editions for the iOS and Android platforms. The company also includes iCrossing, a global digital marketing agency.

About Ipsos
Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. In October 2011 Ipsos completed the acquisition of Synovate. The combination forms the world’s third largest market research company.  With offices in 85 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across six research specializations: advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, public affairs research, and survey management.  Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.  Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,789 billion (2.300 billion USD) in 2012. Visit to learn more about Ipsos’ offerings and capabilities.

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