W Net and JWT study: Women becoming more like men, says JWT EVP Marian Salzman » Media in Canada

W Net and JWT study: Women becoming more like men, says JWT EVP Marian Salzman

R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Looks like women are getting more of it - and a lot of other things -- these days, according to research conducted by JWT and the W Network. New York-based, global trendspotter and JWT EVP and director of strategic content, Marian Salzman, the woman who coined the term metrosexual and author of Buzz: Harness the Power of Influence and Create Demand interpreted key findings of the research in Toronto last week.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Looks like women are getting more of it – and a lot of other things — these days, according to research conducted by JWT and the W Network. New York-based, global trendspotter and JWT EVP and director of strategic content, Marian Salzman, the woman who coined the term metrosexual and author of Buzz: Harness the Power of Influence and Create Demand interpreted key findings of the research in Toronto last week.

The presentation, entitled W Network & Marian Salzman’s The Women of Canada, found that women are gaining ground on their male counterparts, taking on more traditionally male roles. Salzman says women are learning to play by men’s rules of the game, but are bringing their own tactics, deploying their feminine wiles to do everything they need to do well. ‘We’re in an age that’s firmly unapologetic,’ says Salzman, adding that women are becoming more assertive.

Salzman dubs it ‘the century of women’ and also points to larger cultural shifts at play, such as the U.S. ceding its trendsetting role to Europe, and in the latter half of the century, to Asia. As the roles reverse and the benchmark morphs, Salzman says the job of marketers to reach women gets that much harder. We’re just one layer within a multi-layer cake, she says.

Salzman says for many, ‘the future is a big black hole’, with folks worried about bird flu, their food supply, their retirement funds, ethnicity of their neighbourhood, and that marriages don’t last and careers are just a series of jobs.

Summing up the degree and pace of change in this always ON world, Salzman identifies the biggest problem as mental health and well-being, and the challenge to find a balance.

‘It’s not information overload, it’s emotional overload.’

Among the study’s key findings:

*Fifty-one percent of men and 47% of women agree that women are becoming more like men. There is a shifting balance of status – and it’s favouring the fairer sex. Or as Salzman puts it: ‘Women are on their way up, men are on their way down.’ Among the Canadian men surveyed, 51% see their status as having deteriorated compared with the 12% who think it’s on the upswing. Interestingly, more men – at 25% — than women (at 22%) agree that they can see a future where men will be the weaker sex. However, more folks (45% of men versus 40% of women) still disagree with that scenario. In fact, the guys are more inclined to see the 21st century as belonging to the gals, with 39% in agreement.

* Salzman sums up the shifting balance of power as ‘men have become the needier party,’ and goes on to say women are more sexually proactive and demanding. As to how that translates at retail, Salzman points to U.K. chemist Boots with its entire aisle of sex toys. However, Canadian women are two times more likely than their European counterparts to say sex is overrated.

* Because of their increasing status, women are becoming pickier about the men in their life; 86% of women agree with this statement.

* 41% of Canadian gals feel that men need women more, while 33% disagree.

* 39% of women want to cut loose more often as a result of their more demanding lifestyle, compared with 37% of men.

* Only 21% of the gals say they never think about their U.S. neighbours, with 68% thinking about them sometimes, and 10% who profess they think about the U.S.

* 38% of Canuck gals feel they are more interesting than their American sisters; this feeling of superiority is strongest among the younger age set with 45% in agreement. Ontarian gals feel it the most (at 41%).

* Though a portion of Canadian girls feel they’re superior, like it or not, the U.S. remains the trendsetter. Fifty-two percent of women say America sets the trends, and we simply follow them.

* But for all their trendsetting, 67% of Canadians say Americans should be embarrassed by their aggressiveness.

* Most Canadian women aren’t appreciative of how much things have gotten better. Just under half (49%) of men say that women can’t see the improvement, while 33% of women agree.

*Canadian women are also worriers: 57% say they are worried about their future. Ontarians are most worried (64%) compared to their sisters from the Prairies (at 34%). The most worrisome group? Seventy-five percent of 18-34s say they are worried about Canada’s future. Comparatively, fewer Canadian females are worried about the U.S., at 53% versus the 68% who toss and turn over Canada’s future.

The data comes from two big surveys. JWT conducted a survey comprised of 1000 respondents (in a 50:50, male to female split) each in the U.S., the U.K., Canada and the Netherlands. The other survey, called W Her Report, focused on Canada in relation to the U.S. In it, the net surveyed 1300 Canadian women ages 18-54 across the country.