In a very interesting article by Helen Pow in News.com, statistics are illustrating that the young women of Generation Y are losing basic "female" skills with fewer young women able to iron a shirt, cook a roast chicken or hem a skirt.
Generation Y women it's claimed can't do the chores their mothers and grandmothers did daily. Only 51 per cent of women aged under 30 can cook a roast compared with 82 per cent of baby boomers. Baking lamingtons is a dying art with 20 per cent of Gen Y capable of whipping up the Aussie classic, down from 45 per cent for previous generations.
Pow quotes social researcher Mark McCrindle who claimed that women of today tend to be busier, juggling more roles, and are quite prepared to compromise a bit of the home-made just to save some time. They also have a lot more disposable income compared with their mums and their grandmothers so buying a cake mix or lamingtons ready-made is not a big deal.
The study by McCrindle Research found only 23 per cent can grow a plant from a cutting when 78 per cent of older women say this is a breeze.
I read with much interest these statistics as my wife Delma, taught our three girls all these skills when growing up. They are now adults, all are married and one of whom is a mother of two and one will be a mother in October.
'The statistics of the throw-away culture' that encourages disposal rather than repair, where buying a new one (whatever it is), even if it is just a matter of darning holes or sewing on buttons.
The McCrindle research found that Generation Y women are losing these skills. If we do want something repaired, women today are more likely to take it to their local dry cleaner because they are busy and can, moreover they can afford it.
The research goes further. Women are taking on more chores too. As well as working full or part-time, they are doing tasks previously done by men. More than 70 per cent of women under 30 say they often take out the bins, 77 per cent mow the lawn and 70 per cent claim they wash the car.
I wonder whether there are such things as 'female skills' today and probably not in the younger generations. Each couple, work out what each partner likes doing. Some men do the shopping and cooking, some women do it. It is not the same as the constructs of the 1950s.
Speaking of the 1950's, the so called 'female skills' were not known by everyone in generations before that anyway.
Most of great-grandmothers probably couldn't either - the upper classes and middle classes always employed 'a girl from the village' to do the housework and cooking. A gardener to do the gardening, they took their laundry 'out' if they couldn't afford a laundry maid, and got everything starched (that is another skill lost) cuffs and collars, which are separate and attached to the shirt so you don't need to wash the shirt every day, only the collars and cuffs.
The men didn't even shave themselves, they went to the barber. And a couple of generations before that, they didn't have ovens in their homes for special occasions such as Christmas they would take their ham or turkey to the baker to get it baked in his oven. They would purchase the turkey (or probably goose) alive from a farm, which was nearer the city in those days, and pluck it and stuff it themselves.
The fact that someone can't cook a roast may mean that she, or he, can do a good stir-fry, in one-tenth the time, using one-tenth the energy and producing one-tenth the carbon dioxide, using fresh vegies either from the courtyard pot-plants or purchased on their way home and carefully refrigerated and checked by health authorities (unlike in our grandparents' generation).
A quick-cook with the chicken, not boiled to death as our grandparents did, and they would have a healthier, quicker, more environmentally-friendly meal and then have time in the evening to read to their children or get on with marking the essays or planning the finances for their business, or whatever it is that they have learnt how to do better than our grandparents did.
And because they hang up the cotton/poly school uniforms on a hanger when they are rinsed out, they don't even need to spend time and energy with ironing, either. The new generation rules!
City and Rural
Delma Tronson ministers beside me based on her years of experience in semi-rural living, says there is more than likely a difference between city and rural women in the domestic realm, in that rural settings women are most likely geared more to household tasks.
Having said that, and with her own adult daughters all living in cities, the juggling act today has become entrenched, and where two incomes are more and more required to pay off a mortgage.
Yet, with such a pace of life, on another angle, those who follow Jesus make time, to be part of a Christian church and possibly a mid-week home group and find a place to spend private time with the Lord. These things become prioritised in such busy households in that finding different ways to get domestic chores done becomes important to everyone in the household.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html