Magazine article Marketing

The Changing Face of Women

Magazine article Marketing

The Changing Face of Women

Article excerpt

BMRB's TGI market research has entered its fifth decade of measuring the British Consumer. By comparing its data from the end of each of the past four decades we provide an insight into how economic power and home life has changed over the year for women.

1969 Housewife

In the year that man made it on to the moon, feminist author Germaine Greer was writing The Female Eunuch, which portrayed marriage as a legalised form of slavery for women and attacked male-dominated society. All this came at the end of the decade in which the introduction of the birth control pill had offered women sexual liberation, and organised campaigning gave them a stronger voice in the world.

Yet a startling 61% had finished education at or below the age of 15, white a mere 9.1% had--or were being--educated beyond the age of 18.

While a lucky few were part of the jet set; international travel was not nearly as common as it is today. Only one in 500 women had been to Greece in the previous year and one in 200 to the US. In their daily routines, women travelled less, too. Only 5.2% were defined as "heavily exposed" to poster advertising, in that they travelled for nine or more hours per week.

Time-saving devices and domestic consumer durables were thin on the ground. Only 0.8% of households had a dishwasher, 6.6% a tumble-drier--and 47.5% bought starch to treat their clothes. Just 1.5% had a colour TV--two-thirds of which were rented. Less than one-third of women (32%) held a driving licence.

The risks of smoking were not as widely known as now, and almost half the women in the country (46.4%) smoked cigarettes. Health and beauty issues were on the radar, however, with 23.9% of women trying to slim. But though they may have been dieting, sweets had taken their toll; over half (53.4%) wore dentures.

Just over half were regular pub-goers and 21.2% drank bottled lager -- their favourites being Carlsberg, Harp and Skol; 9.2% drank draught bitter -- mainly Red Barrel, Double Diamond and Whitbread Tankard. Slightly more went to the cinema:55.5%.

Just over one in five women owned their home and nearly a quarter were in the process of buying; 27% rented from the council and 14% rented privately. Just over 5% lived alone and 6.8% were the sole adult in the household.

Some 12% described themselves as single -- ten years later this had climbed to 17.6% -- and 11.4% were separated, divorced or widowed.

1979 Consumer

For some, the 1970s will always be the decade of Spangles, Chopper bikes and glam rock. But the punk backlash showed it was also a decade of massive social upheaval. At the end of the decase, the UK had its first female Prime Minister, as Margaret Thatcher swept to power.

A quarter of women worked full-time, with a further 14.8% in part-time jobs. Their enhanced spending power meant that 17.6% had a credit card, 42.9% had a building society savings account, and 66% had a bank account of some kind. In addition, 18% had made a will.

Greater affluence could also be seen in the wider ownership of white and brown goods. By 1979, 28.4% of households had a separate freezer, 2.5% had a dishwasher, 13.6% a tumble drier and 26.8% a colour TV. Rising living standards could also be detected in the spread of home ownership: 25.1% owned their home, while 30.5% were in the process of buying their own property.

The number of women smoking cigarettes was substantially down on the previous decade -- 35.9% against 46.4% -- but there were more drivers and slimmers. Dental health had improved markedly, with 42.2% of women wearing dentures, down from over 50%.

Cinema attendance was in decline - despite this being the decade of blockbusters such as Jaws and Star Wars. In part, this could have been because women felt increasingly confident about visiting what had once been a largely male preserve: the pub. Almost 69% of women described themselves as pub-goers; in addition, just under 5% of women said they paid to watch live football. …

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