We asked 1,000 Canadian women a bunch of nosy questions about love, sex, work, guilt, money and ambition. Here’s what they told us.
Forty can seem like a smack-dab-in-the-middle kind of age. By this point, you’ve most likely made some serious commitments — perhaps to a partner, to a home, to raising children or to a certain career. You may be taking care of your parents. You probably have an RRSP.
But it’s not all buttoned-down duty: You have drinks with friends, you play around with clothes, you share very strong opinions about Downton Abbey. You’ve gained confidence in yourself and lost interest in being like anyone else. You still have room to grow at work and at home — and lots of time to try something altogether different.
Chatelaine wanted to explore this rich time, so we partnered with polling firm Abacus Data and asked 1,000 Canadian women aged 35 to 45 a pile of prying questions. They told us how they feel about their relationships (pretty great!) and their bodies (not as good). They told us what they long for and what makes them feel guilty. They’re happy to reveal their age but have some major reservations about calling themselves feminists. And — no surprise — they’re preposterously busy.
“This is a segment of the Canadian population feeling the pressure of everything life has to bring,” says David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data. “Women are trying to achieve what they want to on the personal side, while moving ahead in their jobs. That pressure, I think, is building up.” Little wonder that our respondents were keen for more time and more money — or just a vacation. Says Coletto, “That, to me, is an expression of high pressure and the need to find time for themselves.” We can’t offer anyone a vacation. But we can open up a conversation, as we did with the 40-odd women who got before a camera in our Toronto office last month to tell us about themselves. And we can offer a very intimate glimpse of life at 40ish. Here’s what they had to say.
Home & Relationships
How would you describe your current relationship status?
Married 54%Common-law 20%Single 19%Divorced 3%Dating someone 3%Other 1%
How satisfied are you with your relationship?
Very 51%Fairly 31%There’s room for improvement 14%Not at all 3%
If you could do it again, would you change that age?
I’d be younger 24%I’d wait longer 14%It was the right time 62%
Do you rent or own?
Live with family 4%
How often do you cook?
Every day 58%A few times a week 28%A few times a month 4%Once a month 6%Never 4%
How many drinks do you have each week?
0 39%1 19%2–5 31%6–10 7%11+ 4%
How many close friends do you have?
0 8%1 11%2–4 54%5–9 21%10+ 5%
Which would you rather have back: the breasts of your 20s or the freedom of your 20s?
70% – Freedom –
Mind & Attitudes
What makes you feel the most guilty?
Not exercising enough 29%Not spending enough time with the kids 19%Spending money 16%Eating badly 15%Relationship with my parents 7%Not making time for my partner 7%Not working hard enough 5%Not wearing sunscreen 2%
How well do you think you’re doing at…
Pretty well 50%
Not so hot 6%
Being an amazing friend?
Pretty well 49%
Not so hot 8%
Building a successful career?
Pretty well 39%
Not so hot 18%
Taking care of the kids?
Pretty well 46%
Not so hot 13%
If you could get more of one thing in your life, what would it be?
Money 36%Sex 4%Time with the family 14%Time alone 4%Exciting work 5%Affection 11%Travel 26%
Are you a feminist?
68% – Nope –
“When women who embrace the philosophy in its practical sense (by, say, voting) still reject the label, it’s clear that feminism has a no-good, very bad PR problem.”
* Survey conducted before Trudeau became Canada’s most-ogled PM
Do you lie about your age?
92% – No –
Would you consider plastic surgery?
Do you think you look good naked?
73% – No –
METHODOLOGY The survey, commissioned by Chatelaine and conducted by Abacus Data, was conducted online with 1,000 Canadian women aged 35 to 45 from September 2 to 7, 2015. A random sample of panelists was invited to complete the survey from a large representative panel of over 500,000 Canadians, recruited and managed by Research Now, one of the world’s leading provider of online research samples.
The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association policy limits statements about margins of sampling error for most online surveys. The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 3.2%, 19 times out of 20. The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population of women aged 35 to 45 according to age, educational attainment, household size, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.
This is 40(ish) – The state of the Canadian Woman. Published: December 3, 2015