“Weave, natural hair, tall, short, skinny, large, bare-faced or made-up – these things do not define South African women. Gone are the days of being boxed and stifled – our research shows that South African women are really embracing their bodies, lives and relationships,” says Katharine Liese, Head of Marketing at 1Life.
“As we celebrate Women’s Month this month, we are so proud to highlight the views of South African women; their uniqueness, their positive attitude towards themselves, their bodies and their relationships through unpacking some great insights that have emerged.”
The research undertaken was run across a number of leading online media platforms, as well as through 1Life’s own assets and policy holder database to really dig deep into 3 key areas of focus including: health, self and relationships.
Surveying over 7 000 South African women – predominantly in the 25 – 44-year age category – one of the most fundamental outcomes was the fact that South African women are not only ‘comfortable in their own skin’ (94%), but love themselves (97%), are confident, proud of who they are, as well as of where they come from.
“For as long as one can remember, there is a menial joke that women are ‘never happy with themselves’, but such insight speaks volumes. Most of us are not only happy, but we are decisive (81%) and, given the choice, would choose to be a woman (94%). These are such phenomenal insights - those that really demonstrate how women are much more empowered than a decade or few ago,” states Liese.
Body consciousness and negative body associations have always been a hot topic – something that many brands are fighting to change. And the 1Life research supports this change, indicating that South African women are very positive about their bodies, where the majority of women indicated that they liked everything about themselves.
And this is true in the celebration of their bodies, where 49% say that they exercise regularly (at least 1 – 3 times a week), 1 in 3 are at their goal weight with the rest having recently been on holiday, or had a baby and so have some ‘work to do’. And, when it comes to healthy eating, most believe that zero carbs and zero sugar are the way to go, combined with drinking lots of water and incorporating vegetables as a key ingredient to any meal.
“We constantly encourage healthy living and so this type of insight not only affirms the concerted effort South African women are placing on looking and feeling great, but that they also believe in balance and ensuring that they are able to let their hair down, with 68% of women believing in cheat days!” continues Liese.
When it comes to religion, culture and relationships, statistics indicate that 99% of women are proud of their culture and 9 out of 10 have a spiritual understanding/acceptance. They believe in marriage (83%) – even the divorcees - and indicate that an ideal relationship must provide companionship and must be underpinned by honesty and faithfulness – alongside love. They also value their sex lives with 73% stating its importance in maintaining a healthy relationship.
Critically important is that 69% of respondents are the main breadwinners in the family and so, having a supportive family is critically important to them with 90% demonstrating that this is the case.
“As a business that is centred around family values and changing lives for those left behind, this is a very important statistic – one that reaffirms the importance of not only providing access to financial education and teaching financial responsibility through our Truth About Money trust (a key skill women would like to learn according to the research), but the importance of educating and supporting breadwinners in making provisions for their families today - and women are central to this in today’s communities,” says Liese.
Women have got it all together when it comes to their perceptions about themselves but, where there is a gap is in their own personal health. We often see that women are so busy taking care of their families that they forget to take care of themselves and, the stats from the survey reiterate this fact. In fact, 1 in 2 women said that they don’t go for regular check-ups and have not gone for a papsmear in the last year.
“As we celebrate everyday South African women – we are so proud to see that we, as women, are taking control of our lives, we are body positive for the most part, and believe that we have what it takes – no matter what the situation. And so, we encourage these same empowered, beautiful South African women to make sure that their physical health is as much of a priority as the rest of their lives – like they say, you can’t pour from an empty cup. This month we celebrate YOU, the real, authentic, beautiful South African you!” concludes Liese.