06 March 2023

Men and planners...

In a recent FFAT (Free for all Tuesday) reference was made to the 'Best Laid Plans' podcast, specifically their February Q&A episode.

The question that was asked was a familiar one 'Is there a gender bias in the use of planners?' it comes up at about 20 minutes 45 seconds in to the episode. 

Is there a gender bias in planning? Yes there appears to be, but men do use planners! 

Some basic facts about the make up of the Filofax planner community. 

Looking at the Facebook Group 'Filofax for Philofaxy Fans' that was initially established with about 35 people I knew in 2011, it has grown steadily to 12,400 members. In the last six months the numbers have been steadily increasing each month. 

Taking a snap shot of the current membership it looks like this: 

5% of 12,400 equates to about 620 men in the group. Their age range seems to peak in the 45-64 years old range, higher than the female peak age range. 

Another telling part of these basic statistics the low numbers in the 13-17 and 18-24 age ranges. May be Facebook is no longer 'cool' for teenagers and twenty somethings? Both sexes are zero percent in the 13-17 age group with 1% female and 0% male in the 18-24 age range.

The male/female imbalance seems to confirm the figures given to me a few years ago by Filofax that stated their sales were 80% female, 20% male on Filofax UK. 

However, on Filofax Japan the figures were reversed 80% male 20% female. This explains while Filofax Japan has had some exclusive models sold there that have not been sold on other Filofax sites around the world. 

Is it the products that are offered that has created this gender bias over recent years? 

From a personal perspective a question aimed at me. Would I still be a Filofax user if I had not become part of the Philofaxy team back in 2009? 

Possibly not, I could have resigned from my job in 2010 that had 'forced' me to return to using a Filofax back in 2005 and resumed using my Psion PDA and then subsequently an iPod Touch in late 2010 and the more recent Apple devices that I now own and use and abandoned paper completely.  That reads like a nightmare!

Go back to 1986 when I first started using a Filofax and I don't know what the balance was back then, but we didn't have an easy way of knowing who other planner/organiser users were then, other than seeing them in offices, or public places or whilst travelling to work or in the specialist stores that stocked Filofax Organisers and the multitude of inserts. 

If I can remember that far back... I had the impression back then that it was dominated by male users, although in my own family and circle of friends it was a close balance. 

What changed? Technology got better I guess and for some, more convenient to use (in some circumstances) 

I know from my 'gadget stash' of old tech that I used from the early 1990's through to the mid 2000's there was a steady improvement and the ease to store your data and back it up and keep it in sync etc. 

In the early days it was quite a painful and hit and miss process. I'm sure we have all had instances of complete loss of our stored calendar/contacts in those early days.  Bad enough for people to return to a Filofax or use one in parallel with a digital device.

I know of several instances within my circle of friends and acquaintances that will claim to have been a Filofax user or they are still a long term Filofax user. However, they don't follow their 'interest' in being a Filofax user on any of the social media platforms.  

I would imagine that to a lot of users treat their Filofax as a 'tool' rather than something they consider to investigate further. 

When I returned to using a Filofax back in 2005 after a gap of a few years I was interested to investigated what the current range of organisers looked like and could I still buy some of the inserts I still owned that I had bought back in the 1980's. It was quite a surprise how much had changed!. My Google searches eventually lead me to finding this blog Philofaxy in about 2008.. the rest is history! 

In contrast, in my volunteer role for the Radio Society of Great Britain the bias is opposite! Some 'Interests/hobbies' have less of a bias I'm sure.  

On our Philofaxy Virtual Meet Up on Skype this afternoon we had an interesting discussion about the podcast episode. I've covered most of the points we came up with in this post. 


  1. Steve I fall smack bang in the 45-64 age range of male Filofax users and as I write this have 'The Black album' by The Damned playing in the background on my CD player...I'm painting a picture here of someone who cherishes their history, and although I too disappeared down the 'Tech' rabbit hole after 1998 (when I invested in Apple Newton) have come full circle after waking up to The Matrix of digital for it's own sake. Yes smartphones have their uses but I like putting pen to paper in the same Filofax I used back when I was younger and more beautiful, back in my 'pomp' 😉

  2. Interesting post thanks Steve.
    Suggests I’m even odder than I’d previously appreciated, but I can live with that!

  3. Maybe men just use their planners and don't participate in online groups about them?

    1. The crazy ones admin loads of them! Who me??.... no different guy!!

  4. Excellent post! I think you make an important point there, namely that planners are, for many people, a tool. Many don't join groups and form part of communities for a tool they use, so we can't really make a reasonable calculation of the ratio of groups of people who use a given thing based on the participation on social networks or creation of content. For instance, I'm not in any fork-community, but that doesn't mean I don't use forks. Same with toothbrushes. Most of us, probably, consider forks and toothbrushes tools and not a "hobby". Well, I guess a lot of people - male, female, non-binary - also see planners are a tool. Many probably never stop to check on the brand, simply pick up something to their like and within their budget from the store. And they plan.
    After we talked about this - extensively in the comments and in the meeting - I was thinking exactly about this, about how we, sometimes, get a schewed view of things because we imagine a community represents the whole population, while a community is more a gathering of people who happen to hear from one another and have similar feelings about something.

  5. I’d like to see more men use a planner, but I think a lot of men use different paper systems

  6. Thanks for an interesting post, Steve.

    I agree as most of the Filofax users that I've known or met, outside of the Philofaxy community, have considered it a useful tool, but have no interest in the subject outside of that. My ex-colleague said that she enjoyed using her one, as it was much nicer than a cheap diary, but it just did a job for her.

    I finally purchased my first smartphone a couple of years ago, but I find that using both paper & digital together works well for me.