Press Centre

Asda Mumdex reveals changing role of mums at work and at home

Increasing equality as Asda Mums contribute more income to household, but conflicting responsibilities mean it’s harder than ever to be a mum

  • THE MUMDEX – Mums’ pessimism about their household finances and quality of life means Mumdex optimism score remains flat at -16%
  • BREADWINNERS AND BREADMAKERS – 9 out of 10 Asda Mums are contributing to the household income, with a quarter earning over half of the income but Mums still doing majority of housework as well
  • WHO SUPPORTS MUM? – The average Asda Mum gives regular help and support to 11.2 people
  • MUMS CALL FOR A FAIRER FUTURE – Mums call for change as 87% of Asda Mums think the pressure to have it all will be the same or worse for the next generation

Today (Thursday 23rd August 2012) Asda launches its third Mumdex report. The Asda Mumdex – a panel of over 4,000 Asda Mums of varying ages and backgrounds – reveals that a downward trend in Mums’ optimism over the last six months as the impact of the economic conditions continue to bite.

The research shows that women’s roles are dramatically evolving, and increasing equality means that mums are challenging traditional stereotypes. Asda Mums are increasingly becoming both the bread winners and the bread makers in their families, with 9 out of 10 Asda Mums (in a relationship) now contributing to the household income, and a quarter earning over half of the income, whilst 77% of mums (in a relationship) manage all or most of the household budget. Earlier this week the Asda Income Tracker* showed that balancing the books is not an easy task – with the latest report highlighting that the average UK family is just £1 a week better off than they were a year ago – and £8 a week worse off than in 2010.

At the same time as taking on these increased financial responsibilities, Asda Mums still take on the majority of domestic tasks, with 7 out of 10 of mums feeling responsible for cooking and cleaning the house and 8 out of 10 feeling responsible for washing and ironing.

With increasing opportunities and responsibilities for Mums, there has been a corresponding increase in pressures. Half of mums believe that the expectation for them to ‘have it all’ has meant that the challenges facing this generation of mums are harder then they have been before. 73% of mums feel pressure to have a clean and tidy home, 68% feel pressure to be slim and 54% feel pressure to have a good job.

It is not a single story across the whole of the UK however. Mums in the north are most likely to hold the household purse strings (80%) but women in Wales are most likely to work and are the biggest contributors to the household purse (34% bring home over half of the income).

Despite juggling increased responsibilities, the research shows that mums still find the time to support a huge amount of people outside of their own families, including neighbours, friends and relatives. In fact – the average Asda Mum regularly gives help and support to 11.2 people.

Asda Mums are concerned that these trends look set continue and that pressures may get worse for the next generation of women. They calling for a fairer future; 72% would like less media focus on celebrities and body image, 66% would like more employers who offer flexible working and 54% would like better role models for young women. Ultimately, they would like society to have a greater appreciation for the extent of mums’ roles and responsibilities. They are calling for women not to be judged against the notion of ‘having it all’.

In addition to the quarterly survey of 4000 mums, Asda also holds regular listening groups to really get to grips with how mums are feeling and to understand what lies behind the numbers. The outcome of these listening groups closely mirrors the findings of the Mumdex research. One Asda mum said:

“I feel that if I only had to work, or only had to stay at home it would be easier rather than trying to do both. If I stayed at home I would have the time to organise the household, would have the time to cook more meals from scratch so meals would be cheaper and healthier. When I am out of the house 40 hours a week, supporting other family members, then supporting my family at home, doing chores, everything gets done, but not as well as it could be.” (Mum, Mumdex Survey)

Judith McKenna, chief operating officer at Asda said:

“Our latest Mumdex research shows that the average mum is no longer constrained by old-fashioned male or female stereotypes – either within the home or outside it. We’ve learned that they’re breadwinners and breadmakers.

“With these increased responsibilities come increased pressure – the expectation that mums can ‘have it all’ weighs heavy, and mums don’t see those pressures easing off for future generations.

“In this quarter’s report mums are calling for a fairer future. They’d like to share domestic duties and fulfil their own career ambitions. They’d like employers to be more flexible. And they want their daughters to seek out supportive partners to relieve the pressure on mums in the future. But most of all, they want to be heard.”

Download the full Mumdex report here

Posted in Press Centre on 23 August 2012