According to Mintel, British men lag behind women when it comes to maintaining good environmental habits. But could gender stereotypes be holding them back?
This is the thorny question Mintel’s new research raises.
Overall, Mintel found that 65 per cent of Brits say they’re trying to live more ethically than a year ago.
But there’s a clear gender divide. Seventy-one per cent of women say they’re increasing their commitment to ethical living. This compares with just 59 per cent of men.
This gender divide goes deeper. Sixty-one per cent of Brits say they’re trying to encourage their family and friends to be more ethical. Yet only 56 per cent of men are doing so, compared with 65 per cent of women.
In fact, Mintel’s research shows that men are less environmentally conscious than women in a range of areas.
For instance, 72 per cent of Brits indicate that they recycle “all the time”. But men (67 per cent) are less likely than women (77 per cent) to commit to regular recycling.
Thermostat battles are common in chilly Britain. Yet women (64 per cent) are more likely than men (58 per cent) to turn the heating down or off when they’re not at home.
Other areas of significant male/female ethical contrasts include water conservation and food composting.
Is recycling too ‘feminine’?
Senior Consumer Lifestyles Analyst at Mintel Jack Duckett said: “Mintel data highlights something of an ‘eco gender gap’, revealing that men are less likely to pursue environmentally friendly behaviours than their female counterparts.
“This could simply be a reflection of the fact that, according to our research, many women still tend to take charge of the running of the household, with chores such as cleaning, laundry and even recycling falling under that banner.
“However, there is also clearly a wider disconnect between men and environmental issues, which, more troublingly, could be due to men feeling that caring for the environment somehow undermines their masculinity.
“This is certainly a sentiment that risks being reinforced by advertisers, with eco-friendly campaigns and product claims largely aimed at female audiences.
“At a time where so many advertisers are exploring what it means to be a man, there are opportunities for brands to create campaigns that will reposition environmentally friendly behaviours as part of modern masculinity.”