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Wickes: Why Sisters Are DIY-ing It For Themselves

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  • Almost half of women (47%) say they no longer need men for DIY around the home

  • Two in five females quizzed by Wickes say they've had to pick up DIY tasks from male family members who abandoned them mid-way through

  • Home improvement retailer celebrating 50th anniversary with study looking at how women’s relationship with DIY has changed since 1972

  • Design historian Deborah Sugg Ryan: ‘In the age of social media, women can now learn DIY from YouTube, mood boards on Pinterest and reels on Instagram’ 

ALMOST half of women (47%) are now taking on more DIY in the home than men, and over half (59%) take on far more DIY tasks around the home than their mothers and grandmothers ever did 50 years ago. 

That’s according to new nationwide research by home improvement retailer Wickes, which quizzed 1,500 women on their relationship with DIY since 1972 to mark its 50th birthday.

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Four in ten of those surveyed have had to pick up DIY tasks from male family members who abandoned projects mid-way through. 

Painting and decorating topped the poll for the DIY task women undertake the most without the help of men (79%), followed by upcycling, such as painting furniture to updating items around the home (55%), and wallpapering (43%).

Design historian Professor Deborah Sugg Ryan, of the University of Portsmouth, who worked with Wickes on the study, said: ‘Fifty years ago, there were considerable barriers to women taking the lead in anything other than decorating, even though some men and women worked together on DIY tasks.

‘Not only were they often not taught the skills by a family member or friend but at school they were encouraged to take domestic science and needlework rather than woodwork and metalwork.

‘Women also lacked financial independence to initiate DIY projects of their own. Despite new legislation, it was still difficult for women to own their own home and although more had entered the workforce their pay lagged far behind men’s.’

The study reveals almost three in five (59%) said they take on more DIY tasks in the home than older female relatives would have in the past 50 years.

The research outlines the barriers that prevented women of 50 years ago from being as DIY independent as women are now, with the biggest culprit being male friends or family members who would undertake all the DIY tasks around the home (55%).

To encourage the female DIY class of 2072 to be even bigger than now, almost three in four (72%) said DIY skills should be taught in school.

And over half said family members (54%) and YouTube (52%) were the biggest help learning how to do DIY, followed by online searches (33%), television (16%) and Instagram and Pinterest (14%).

Professor Deborah Sugg Ryan added: ‘In the early 70s, many DIY manuals and magazines positioned men as the lead DIY-er with women merely as assistants. Where women were addressed directly, it tended to be by male experts. From the 1990s onwards, female presenters and experts on DIY-focused television shows have acted as role models to inspire women.

‘Reality television then brought new female DIY talent who have gone on to have professional careers.  In the age of social media, women are inspiring each other– from mood boards on Pinterest, reels on Instagram and Millennials and Gen Z posting on TikTok under #GirlsWhoBuild with over 89 million views. 

‘It’s amazing to see the shift in attitudes surrounding women and their role in DIY, and inspiring to see brands such as Wickes celebrating this whilst acknowledging how much work there still is to do.’ 

Gary Kibble, Chief Marketing Officer of Wickes, said: ‘The world was a very different place when Wickes arrived on the scene in 1972, and DIY was almost exclusively a male preserve.  Since then, there have been five decades of change, and it’s great to see that DIY is something that everyone can enjoy and be involved in.’ 

To mark its 50th anniversary and celebrate the role of women in DIY over the past 50 years, Wickes has teamed up with TV presenter and singer turned DIY influencer Kimberley Walsh to reimagine images from Do It Yourself magazine from 1972.

To view the images, visit the Wickes Instagram page or website.

Source : Wickes

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27 August 2022

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Thank you for the excellent presentation that you gave at Woodbury Park on Thursday morning. It was very interesting and thought-provoking for our Retail members. The feedback has been excellent.

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Martin Elliott. Chief Executive - Home Hardware.
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