Unpicking the gender gap: examining Socio-Demographic factors and repair resources in clothing repair practice
McQueen, RH and McNeill, LS and Huang, Q and Potdar, B, Unpicking the gender gap: examining Socio-Demographic factors and repair resources in clothing repair practice, Recycling, 7, (53) pp. 1-15. ISSN 2313-4321 (2022) [Refereed Article]
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Increased fashion consumption spurred by fast fashion has led to excessive textile waste,
giving rise to a global crisis as textile waste pollutes land and waterways, while landfill and incineration contribute to global greenhouse gas emissions. Extending a product’s life for as long as possible is a core principle of the circular economy (CE) to ensure that the maximum value of the original product is realized over its lifetime. As such, repair is an essential component of a CE because it supports the preferred waste hierarchy elements of reduce and reuse, with recycling being the last resort in a CE necessary to close resource loops. Consumers are an essential enabler of a CE; therefore, it is critical to understand consumers’ characteristics in the context of behaviors such as repair. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of gender on engagement in clothing repair practices; women have often only been the focus of clothing repair studies. An online survey was conducted to collect responses from Canadian and U.S. consumers (n = 512). Findings showed that self-repair
was the most common form of clothing repair, with women being more highly engaged in self-repair practices, increasing with age. Paid repair is the type of repair that has the lowest level of engagement, and there are only negligible differences between the genders. Men utilize unpaid forms of repair more than women. However, among the youngest age group (18–24), both genders are equally likely to have clothing repaired for free. Gender gaps exist, but opportunities for increased utilization in repair can be created to encourage full participation within a CE. In particular, the findings point to the importance of increasing repair activities amongst men and younger consumers.