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Dating app Bumble launches new campaign to help close ‘the romance gap’

The ‘women-first’ dating app Bumble has launched a new campaign to help close ‘the romance gap’ between men and women.

‘The romance gap’, a term coined by Bumble, is a term for the disparity between men and women and our expectations of the genders when it comes to relationships and dating.

52% of respondents believed men are still expected to make the first move, according to a YouGov poll that was commissioned by Bumble.

Almost 2 in 3 people in the UK (63%) said they expect men to take the lead but only 8% expected the same from women.

Dating app Bumble launches equality campaign

Bumble’s latest research suggests that daters want a very different kind of relationship dynamic.

86% of Brits say that equality is important between people who are dating or in a relationship.

Meanwhile, 74% of respondents said that there are different expectations and expected behaviours depending on your gender when it comes to relationships. 


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In other words, an overwhelming majority believe that there is a romance gap and that there are pressures for men and women to act a certain way.

The dating app recognises that we have made “positive strides towards equality, traditional gender roles and expectations are still very present, and even, accepted in dating”.

In fact, some behaviours that we deem romantic for men are viewed negatively if they come from a woman.

The research, which collected responses from across Europe, found that:

  • Men are still expected to take the lead: Over half of people (52%) state that society expects men to take the lead in relationships, rising to almost 2 in 3 in the UK (63%), whilst a mere 8% think society expects women to do so. For men, just over 1 in 4 (27%) feel pressured to take the lead.
  • Women should not appear desperate: In the UK, more than half (51%) state women are expected to avoid appearing too keen, clingy, attached or desperate. Interestingly this is felt significantly more by women (62%) than men (40%).
  • Men worry about their lack of experience between the sheets: Nearly a fifth (18%) of British men are concerned about being judged for their lack of sexual experience. Almost the same amount of women (19%) fear they’ll be judged for the opposite – their number of intimate encounters.
  •  Women have a ‘shelf-life’ in dating: 42% state that women are expected to prioritise finding a relationship and settle down before they are ‘too old’. In contrast, only 13% say that society expects this of men. For women, 1 in 3 (32%) have felt pressure to compromise on what they want while dating or in relationships. 
  • Men are expected to be the breadwinners: In the UK, 1 in 2 (53%) say men are expected to earn more money and be responsible for finances, with only 3% agreeing this is expected of women. 1 in 10 (10%) women have felt concerned of being judged for earning more than their partner. 
  • Women are changing their behaviour: Amidst all these expectations, it’s no surprise that 1 in 3 (33%) women have changed their behaviour to make someone feel more powerful or comfortable. 

Barry And District News: A couple on a date. Credit: CanvaA couple on a date. Credit: Canva

The new campaign forms part of Bumble’s efforts to empower people to create healthy and equitable relationships and combat “outdated” gender dynamics.

“The Romance Gap is a new term, but many of us will know the feeling. Those moments of questioning if sending that text makes you appear too keen, waiting for them to take the lead, or worrying if you are being judged for being too keen, too inexperienced, too old. At Bumble, we are focused on creating an app that empowers women to make the first move and date on their own terms from the beginning. But we alone cannot change societal expectations,” Naomi Walkland, Bumble’s VP for Europe said.
Ms Walkland continued: “An unexamined Romance Gap limits us, with 1 in 2 people agreeing that it makes it difficult to build equal relationships. The only way to reduce the Romance Gap is to acknowledge it exists and start an open conversation about how it impacts how we see ourselves, our partners, and relationships. Only when we are aware of it can we challenge each other to do away with gendered expectations of who should do what.”

It’s not just that the outdated genre dynamics are bad for equality, they stop us from making genuine connections with people, the dating app believes.

According to its research, 52% say the impact of gender roles makes people behave in a way that is less true to who they are.

It does appear though that change is on its way with 58% of respondents believing that in an ideal world we would not have expectations on who earns more, a more successful career (55%), or who makes the first move by initiating a date (49%).

You can see the rest of Bumble’s research, campaign and tips on striking up a conversation via the Bumble website.

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