Women Work at Home

Once upon a time men and women’s do-it-yourself needs and abilities were viewed independently of each other. But today, the sexes are proving they share equal reign over the home improvement domain.

A national survey of male and female homeowners, commissioned by Lowe’s for the third consecutive year to gauge the female do-it-yourself trend, reveals men and women acknowledge gender equality when it comes to learning about home improvement and executing do-it-yourself projects.

In fact, 83 percent (82 percent of men and 83 of women) agree that men and women have equal abilities when it comes to learning about home improvement.

“A closer look at the D-I-Y trends reveal both genders are taking less of a ‘he said, she said’ approach to home improvement ability — they actually prefer to collaborate on projects and learn new skills together,” said Melissa Birdsong, director of trend forecasting and design for Lowe’s. “In reality, both men and women want the same things when it comes to home improvement.”

The survey shows that 72 percent of men and women (73 percent of men and 72 percent of women) do not believe women need female-only do-it-yourself demonstration clinics because they have to be taught differently about home improvement than men.

Survey results also show that 71 percent of men and women (76 percent of men and 67 percent of women) would prefer to develop their do-it-yourself skills side by side in co-ed how-to clinics. And sixty-five percent of men and women (70 percent of men and 61 percent of women) say it doesn’t matter if they receive do-it-yourself instruction and advice from a man or a woman. This lack of preference can be attributed to the fact that 59 percent of women think that men take them seriously when it comes to home improvement, while 91 percent of men believe they take women seriously when it comes to home improvement.

Queen of Her Castle

Though the lines between male and female differences in home improvement are blurring, one thing is clear: The female do-it-yourself trend continues. More women (62 percent) consider themselves to be between an intermediate and an expert do-it-yourselfer. In fact, women initiate 85 percent of all home improvement projects, and represent half of Lowe’s customer base, according to Lowe’s internal research.

Women also are powering up with the right tools to tackle their projects. Most women (81 percent) own, at minimum, basic hand tools plus a few power tools, and one in five women owns an extensive collection of hand and power tools. Nearly one-third (29 percent) of women say power is the primary attribute they look for in their tools.

Breaking Barriers in the D-I-Y Kingdom

While most homeowners hold conventional views about do-it-yourself project gender roles, those perceptions are crumbling. The majority of men and women agree that certain home improvement projects (60 percent of men and 72 percent of women) are traditionally male- versus female-oriented. But while 63 percent of these men and women would classify “everyday fix-it problems around the house” as a male-oriented project, 80 percent of women say they are doing these projects on their own.

Additionally, though most men and women who’d classify projects as male- or female-oriented (86 percent) believe that “exterior maintenance projects such as gutter work and exterior painting” are male-oriented projects, more than half of all women (53 percent) say they are doing these projects on their own.

This study of male and female homeowners age 18 and older across the country was conducted July 29-31 by Ipsos Public Affairs, a North American based Division of the Ipsos Group, the world’s third largest survey-based public opinion and market research organization.

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