11 April 2011

Washing machine the best gadget of all time – for women?

In a not-in-the- slightest-bit-sexist set of survey results, email titans Hotmail have determined that while the highest proportion of men say that the computer is the best time-saving device ever, an overwhelming 32% of women voted the washing machine into the top slot in their ‘best ever time saving gadgets’ poll, pushing the computer into second place, with the mobile phone placed third, the dishwasher in forth place and the microwave in fifth.

Now, these results are interesting for a couple of reasons. One, all of these inventions bar one were invented during the 20th century*. Two, all of them were viewed as luxury items when they came out, but the most interesting for me is why Hotmail actually saw fit to overtly state ‘women’ voted for the washing machine and ‘men’ for the computer. What are they actually trying to say there? Either the washing machine won or it didn’t – does it matter who voted for it? For a modern company, their thinking is obviously stuck in the past.

*In case you’re wondering, the washing machine is the lone representative of the pre-20th Century. Astoundingly, the first English patent under the category of Washing and Wringing Machines was issued as far back as 1691, and although the electric washing machine was being advertised from about 1904 onwards, no-one is wholly sure who invented it or when!

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