According to the third annual Global Gender Scorecard - Survey of the World’s Leading 300 Companies by 20 first, 74% of top U.S. companies have at least two women on their board. In Europe, 68% of top companies have two women on their board. In Asia, only 9% of top companies have two women on their board.

The situation is worse regarding executive committees, which continue to be a man’s world. While the majority of U.S. companies have at least two women on their executive committees (59%), Europe is far behind (20%) and Asia is even further behind (4%). This shows that progress is being made, but there is still a long way to go for equity.

The 8th of March

Reading this survey reminds me about the last International Women’s Day (8 March). The last two years, I’ve been in Vietnam at the beginning of March and I have been quite touched by the behavior of women there on International Women’s Day. The day is very important for them. Men are afraid to miss it, and many run around looking crazed, trying to find flowers. “At least they’re that way one day in 365,” one girl said to me.

You say, “Well, what a feminist post!” I say “What? Of course not.” Sociologists look at the behavior of families to understand society, and the behavior of families explains their consumption practices.

Dust, diapers and culinary delights

Women still tend to the household everywhere around the world. In France, the last survey by BVA  (published on 8 March), pointed out that women dusted, tended to children and worked in the kitchen much more than men. In 64% of couples, women prepared meals much more often than their companions. The reverse (meal preparation done more often by men than women) was seen in only 12% of families. The disparity is “less” apparent regarding food shopping (more women than men in 44% of couples, more men than women in 15% of couples).

Nevertheless, we can see evolution in this area, much in the same way that we can see it (with 20 first’s help) in boards and executive committees. If, in 2011, women still do the shopping in 44% of couples, it should be noted that the number was 53% of couples in 1999. The same is true with culinary practices: women work in the kitchen more than men in 64% of couples, compared with 73% in 1999. Of course to be exhaustive, one must look more closely to details (for example, men are more likely to go alone to the baker’s as opposed to a large family shopping facility).

What about feed and animal products?

But the fact is there: women buy the meat much more often than their companions. Another new survey, from Belgium, gives us some details. For example, men make the buying decision for alcohol (beer and wine) in more than half the couples, but are not interested in the general contents of the shopping cart. No more than 10% of men make any decision regarding meat or delicatessen purchases, and no more than 5% regarding fruits and vegetables. Of course, cultural practice differs. For example, in North Africa, food shopping, especially meat purchasing, might be more of a male than a female activity.

Women prefer fruit, vegetables and poultry over beef or pork, as shown in surveys regarding food purchases.  One can see a difference in fears between women and men, and a recent survey from Switzerland confirms this. In general, women are more frightened about food security than their companions. Two-thirds of women feel concerned about food security and nearly half of them think that food might harm their health. More specifically, 97% of women think that they must be prudent when buying meat, poultry and fish!

So – any communication should really keep these facts in mind.