This is 40(ish) | Chatelaine
This is 40(ish) | Chatelaine

This is 40(ish)

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?

How satisfied are you with your relationship?

So what keeps you in it?

Do you have children?

How old were you when you had your first child?

– On average –

If you could do it again, would you change that age?

Do you rent or own?

How often do you cook?

How many drinks do you have each week?

How many close friends do you have?

Which would you rather have back: the breasts of your 20s or the freedom of your 20s?

– Freedom –


Mind & Attitudes

What makes you feel the most guilty?

How well do you think you’re doing at…

Being independent?

Being an amazing friend?

Building a successful career?

Taking care of the kids?

If you could get more of one thing in your life, what would it be?

Are you a feminist?

– 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.”

Have you ever experienced depression or anxiety?

Have you ever taken anything for it?

Have you ever been in therapy?

Are you more or less happy than you were 10 years ago?


Money & Work

What’s your employment status?

How much money do you make?

Is that more or less than you deserve?

Is that more or less than your partner makes?

Where are you in your career?

What’s your biggest obstacle to getting ahead?

Have you ever been fired from a job?

– No –

How are you at negotiating?

Are you prepared for retirement?

How on top of your cash are you?

How much cash is in your wallet right now?

If you had a windfall of cash, what would you spend it on?


Sex & Body

How often do you have sex?

How many people have you slept with?

Would you like to change that number?

Are you a decent flirt?

Who’s the sexiest man in Canada?

* Survey conducted before Trudeau became Canada’s most-ogled PM

Do you lie about your age?

– No –

Would you consider plastic surgery?

Do you think you look good naked?

– No –


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.