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Roper Starch Worldwide Report
Contributed by Donna Messer
ConnectUs Communications Canada

Women have a strong leadership role to play in the next century.
The first step is to identify the leaders."

The Roper Starch Report provides a valuable insight into the values of men and women around the world. For a company that wanted to sell a product or service to any of the countries polled, the information in this report provides an 'inside track'. You know what turns them on, what drives their purchasing. The Women in Food Industry Management newsletter, which reproduced most of a report, offers the result of survey findings, written by Xiaoyan Zhao, a Senior VP of Roper. And the Roper report gives important messages in understanding women all over the world, as well as the importance of mentoring.

"When you make it to the summit the first move should be to turn around and offer a hand up to the person behind you."

The data comes from the 1997 Global Consumer Study of Roper Reports Worldwide, focusing on consumer values and lifestyles trends. Clients were major multinationals who needed an in-depth understanding of global and national markets which would help them anticipate and prepare for change.

Thirty five countries were covered in the study with 1,000 interviews, 500 men and 500 women from each country.

  • In the Americas those interviewed were 7 Latin American countries and the U.S.;
  • In Europe, both Western and Eastern European countries;
  • 13 countries from the Asia Pacific region, plus Nigeria, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
The purpose of the survey was to shed light on how men and women from different countries are similar and different when it comes to value priorities. The survey asked respondents to rate the importance of 56 values; "guiding principles in my life."

These are what the world's consumers, men and women, have said are the ten most important values in their lives:
1. Protecting the family
2. Honesty
3. Respecting ancestors � one's heritage
4. Authenticity � true to oneself
5. Self Esteem
6. Friendship
7. Freedom
8. Health and Fitness
9. Stable personal relationships
10. Material Security
There are different gender "ideals". Women feel more strongly than men about a particular cluster of values: spirituality, honesty, authenticity, stable personal relationships, helpfulness, intimacy, respecting ancestors and faith. Men outrank women when it comes to the importance of ambition and sex.
Out of the set of 56 values, it was found that overall, men and women tend to be remarkably similar.
Based on their research, Roper has come up with six segments to mirror the different mindsets of the group. They have been described as:

  • Strivers
  • Fun Seekers
  • Creatives
  • Intimates
  • Altruists
  • Devouts.

Important to this group: ambition, status, power and wealth.
Less important: honesty, true friendship, stable personal relationships and social tolerance.
Where are they found? Women strivers have a strong presence in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan and Kazakhstan. Most of these countries are Asian Tiger economies � a pattern that is not different from their male counterparts.

Fun Seekers
Important to this group: driven by pleasure and amusement. They seek a varied life, excitement and stimulation. They like to look good, want romance and music in their lives.
Less important: respecting ancestors, protecting family, duty or obligations.
Where are they found? Women fun seekers have a strong presence in Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan and Germany; signalling social change in societies which are not traditionally known for their passion for leisure.

Important to this group: these are individualists; open minded and creative, yearning to learn. Freedom, self-reliance, true to oneself.
Less important: public image, obedience or faith.
Where are they found? Women creatives have the highest representation in Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Australia and France.

Important to this group: life revolves around family and friends, deep and intimate relationships, love, romance and sex.
Less important: power, faith or social responsibility.
Where are they found? Women intimates can be found most strongly in Europe, particularly in Hungary, United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Australia.

Important to this group: these are outer-oriented people, concerned with society as a whole, harmony in nature, environmental issues, equality and justice.
Less important are status, wealth, pleasure and romance.
Where are they found? Women Altruists predominate in a number of different countries& regions, but 3 of the top 5 are found in Latin countries :Spain, Argentina & Mexico. Turkey & Japan are the other countries where women altruists are well represented.

Important to this group: these are spiritualists, where duty, tradition and devotion to one's faith are extremely important, as are modesty, obedience and traditional gender roles.
Less important: freedom, excitement, and enjoyment of life.
Where are they found? Women Devouts have the largest representation in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Singapore, and South Africa.

General Trends:
Emerging trends, based on the current study, indicate self growth and self development among women worldwide. Women globally rank education and learning their second most important leisure activity, after time with family. Additionally, more women than men choose education and learning as a crucial driver for their leisure pursuit.
Cultural enrichment is also one of the most important pursuits of women in their leisure time. Further evidence that self development is on the rise: the proportion of teenage girl creatives is higher than adult women. Furthermore, young women outrank young men in their share of creatives in most regions.
Women are becoming increasingly technologically literate. Women are still trailing men in their use of computer technology in the workplace, except in Eastern Europe and Russia, where women surpass men. It is not aptitude or inclination that has created the technological increase it is access. Women have achieved parity in home use of computers. In the US, women have outpaced men in using the computer at home.
Young women are ahead of young men in using the computer in schools. As the current generation of young women enter the workforce, the trends indicate that they will continue their positive engagement with technology, contributing to future parity not only at home, but at work.

More decision making positions will emerge regarding technology. Currently only US women equal their male colleagues in making business purchase decisions regarding technology.

What can we do with the statistics?

Reach out and help women. We now know what's on their minds. Women have strong desires for self development, for ongoing learning, in news, information and technology. Women have concerns for the future � women need to focus on economic and social ventures that reinforce and facilitate self development and provide the necessary tools to maximize their economic participation into the future. Young women have a growing interest in the future. We can help them further their creative drive by providing the technology that will let them thrive in the global economy of the 21st century.

Donna Messer is the Chair of Women in Food Industry Management in Canada and also operates ConnectUs Communications Canada, a networking program based out of London, Ontario, that's involved in training programs for women entrepreneurs and small business owners. She is an international trade specialist who works with countries around the world, helping them find strategic alliances and joint ventures.

Donna is also a relationship builder; teaching the art of effective networking to banks, trust companies, credit unions and corporations, who all need to build a stronger, more positive relationship with their clients. She helps to make that happen.

Read Donna's perspective of the 1998 Global Summit in England

Donna Messer can be reached at:

ConnectUs Communications Canada
114 Elmwood Avenue,
Oakville, Ontario L6K 2A7

Email: [email protected]
Web site:
Phone: (905) 337-9578
Fax: (905) 337-9320

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