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Who Wears the Pants? – The ConsumHERist

Posted on | June 4, 2009 | No Comments

by Delia Passi

The Readers Digest website reported the results of an interesting survey they conducted on 16 different country specific websites where they posed a simple question: Who’s the Boss in Your Family – Mom, Dad, the kids or the grandparents?  The results were quite interesting.

In half the countries (11 out of 16 according to RD, but not by my count) Dad won the vote.  The results ranged from Dad in the driver’s seat for 69% in India to Dad in charge for 38% in the UK.  Dad won out in mostly Asian countries (India, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Russia and Philippines.)  The only western countries to support Dads were Spain and France.  The US was solidly in Mom territory with Dads getting only 42%.

The details by country told several other stories.  Within the country results RD revealed voting by gender as well as results by all four categories of answer (Mom, Dad, kids and grandparents).  Kids seemed to have significant boss power (about 10%) in about half the countries as well, although the mix was not East vs. West.  The UK gave them a lot of respect whereas the US did not.  Grandparents pulled their most respectable numbers in Germany, Italy, Russia and India.

The most interesting comparisons come from looking at the gender differences.  In the Asian countries, with the exception of Russia (more European than Asian), the women agreed that Dads were the boss.  In all of the other countries, men also felt that Dads were the boss.  Not surprising.  Yet in all those same countries, women thought Moms were the boss.  Who is fooling whom?

I was particularly amused by the imbalance in Brazil where men gave 89% of the vote to Dads.  On the other side of the bed, only 40% of the women thought Dads were in charge.  That certainly makes for lots of potential conflict.

Spain held a similarly large disparity.  There, 76% of men voted for Dad yet 69% of women voted for Mom.  These were the only two Hispanic countries in the group.  Could that be a factor?

Overall, in western countries and in varying degrees, the genders disagree on who wears the pants.  Maybe they just disagree as to what wearing the pants really means.  Maybe the men are just in denial.  What do you think?

Delia Passi, Founder of WomenCertified® and author of Winning the Toughest Customer: The Essential Guide to Selling to Women is a regular columnist on ReachingWomenDaily.  Delia can be reached at


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