Women worry about meeting friends while men focus on food and drink, ONS Covid data suggests

Gabriella Swerling
·2-min read
Shoppers Take Advantage Of Black Friday Deals In Cardiff - Getty Images
Shoppers Take Advantage Of Black Friday Deals In Cardiff - Getty Images
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..

Women are more concerned about keeping in touch with friends during the coronavirus pandemic while men are more preoccupied with takeaway food and pints, Government data suggests.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) published its weekly update on the virus and its social impacts on people in England and Wales and examined differences in attitude between women and men for the first time.

Its analysis, which covers the period from November 15 to 29, found women were less likely than men to have left home to collect takeaway food or drinks from a restaurant, bar or pub, with 10 per cent of women doing so compared with 19 per cent of men. 

But women were more likely than men to have done so in order to meet up with people in a public place (17 per cent of women and 12 per cent of men), take children or young people to school or college (21 per cent of women and 14 per cent of men) or go shopping for food and medicine (80 per cent of women and 74 per cent of men)

The ONS also found women were more likely than men – 43 per cent compared with 33 per cent – to report having formed a support bubble. The most common reason reported by both women and men for doing so was to be able to see family members.

A high proportion of both men (87 per cent) and women (92 per cent) reported either always or often hand-washing after returning home, but women, at 73 per cent, were more likely than men, at 65 per cent, to report always doing this – a finding that has been consistent throughout the pandemic.

Christmas coronavirus rules
Christmas coronavirus rules

It comes after scientists at New York University and Yale University published a paper in the Behavioral Science and Policy journal in October which found that women are more likely than are men to follow guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid.

The researchers found women carried out physical distancing, mask-wearing and maintaining hygiene to a greater degree than men. They were also more likely to listen to experts and exhibit alarm and anxiety in response to the pandemic.

"Previous research before the pandemic shows that women had been visiting doctors more frequently in their daily lives and following their recommendations more so than men," Irmak Olcaysoy Okten, a postdoctoral researcher at NYU's Department of Psychology and the paper's lead author said. 

"They also pay more attention to the health-related needs of others. So it's not surprising that these tendencies would translate into greater efforts on behalf of women to prevent the spread of the pandemic."