What Do Women Really Want?
I was flipping through the Harvard Business Review at work today when I found an article called Understanding the "Female Economy." It was written by a man and a woman who wrote the forthcoming book, Women Want More: How to Capture Your Share of the World's Largest, Fastest-Growing Market. The article documents the main areas of opportunity for businesses to sell their wares to women who apparently make the purchase decisions for "94% of home furnishings...92% of vacations...91% of homes...and 60% of automobiles."
The authors also conclude that women "have too many demands on their time and constantly juggle conflicting priorities - work, home, and family." Their solution is for companies to focus on "time-saving solutions or for products and services designed specifically for (women)."
The strategies make perfect sense from a business perspective but from a practical or personal view none of these supposed products or services will help women or men get what they really want...a partner. Sure, they can save a few minutes with some fancy new gadget or streamlined grocery or dining options but if they continue to own most of the major purchase decisions around the home, not to mention much of the actual work that needs attention, satisfaction will continue to be elusive.
Henry David Thoreau weighed in on this issue about 150 years ago in Walden: "I say beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes."
I agree with your point that women need partners and not gadgets, but with the majority of the married working mothers in this country who work a "second shift" at home, do you think it is useful in the short term to have these time-saving options while on the long term we work to change society's position on gender roles within the family?
I women really want true partners at home, they already have it in their power to create that situation. The problem is too many women don't want true partners, they want a "partner" who will do what the woman wants them to do. Women own the major purchase decisions because they want to own them, they aren't willing to delegate them.
I fully agree that efficiency can play an important role in leading a balanced life for women and men. However, many years ago I had a friend whose family had a cabin in Vermont w/o running water or electricity. He used to love saying how much time he had to himself w/o all the time-saving devices.
Also, simplifying just a little is often a money saver which has multiple other benefits. But, there are few powerful entities vested in scaling back.
I prefer to think of gadgets as ways to maintain balance instead of helping to create it.
I agree that women play a role in creating unequal partnerships. I don't feel I can assign the lion's share of the blame to women though in every instance. I prefer to think both genders are defending the status quo.
Here at ESP we try to focus on the benefits for both sexes when sharing of life's joys, and responsibilities, is the goal.
Obviously that's a generalization of course. My experience from talking to parents and reading parenting sites/blogs is that there are an awful lot of women who say they want equality at home yet the complain that their husbands don't do things the "right" way. And when they do actually let their husbands do things, they complain about how they did them wrong. They just won't let go.
Again, this isn't every woman, but as a generalization it holds up very well.
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