Latest NCWNZ Gender Survey Reveals Attitudes Are Hardening In Some Areas
A third nationwide survey of gender attitudes, conducted by NCWNZ and Research New Zealand, confirms that while most New Zealanders hold progressive attitudes towards gender equality (with 80% recognising it’s a fundamental right), a minority still hold outdated views on gender roles and stereotypes, and there is a creep towards more conservative attitudes.
“It’s extremely encouraging that most New Zealanders have progressive attitudes towards gender equality and believe Aotearoa New Zealand is making good progress towards gender equality,” Dr Suzanne Manning, President of The National Council of Women of NZ – Te Kaunihera Wāhine o Aotearoa, said today.
“But it is concerning that when it comes to violence towards women and toxic masculinity, the attitudes of a small minority have hardened since the previous survey in 2019.”
Dr Manning said the survey showed that there was still a lot of work to do in changing attitudes towards gender equality. “It’s frankly depressing that in 2022, 17% of respondents still believe that hitting out is an understandable response for a man when his wife or girlfriend tries to end a relationship (up from 9% in 2019), while 18% of respondents believe that showing physical or emotional weakness makes a man less of a man (up from 12% in 2019).
“And while it’s encouraging that most New Zealanders agree that household chores and childcare should be shared between men and women, it’s concerning that 16% of respondents still believe that fathers should have more say than mothers in making family decisions (up from 10% in 2019).”
Dr Manning said the survey found that there were significant differences in attitudes between men and women on some issues. For example, 89% of women believe contraception should be a shared responsibility between men and women, while only 79% of men share this view and fewer women think good progress is being made towards gender equality than men.
The survey also found that women have greater tolerance around gender and sexual diversity, but attitudes towards trans men and trans women are still lagging behind, with more than a third of respondents saying they are not comfortable with trans men and trans women in most situations.
“The survey shows we’re not making enough progress towards gender equality,” Dr Manning says, “The National Council of Women is committed to achieving gender equality in one generation – and this will need a concerted effort by everyone so that we can change social attitudes towards women and girls.”
Emanuel Kalafatelis from Research New Zealand, who conducted the survey, says, “Taken as a whole, last year’s survey shows a creep upwards towards more conservative attitudes. The reasons for this can only be guessed at, but the current national and global situation of extreme uncertainty and anxiety may well have played its part.”
The whole report can be found here from tomorrow: https://genderequal.nz/ga-survey/
More key findings
- A belief that gender equality is a fundamental right (79%) agree, and has been the same for last three years but when we look across ethnicities - 80% of respondents who identified as NZ European/Pākehā agreed that gender equality in New Zealand is a fundamental right (with 76% Māori and 78% Asian) and 75% of Pasifika. Almost one-in-five Pasifika respondents (18%) either disagreed or didn’t know.
- 40% agree gender equality has been achieved with 32% disagree, 28% neutral or don’t know, similar to 2019. But this skews towards men, who are more likely to agree with this (nearly half at 46%) whereas 35% of women agree. Older respondents were more likely to disagree with this statement. And over half of Asian respondents agree with it, less than half, at 48% of Māori agree, with NZ European/Pākehā at 36% and Pasifika at nearly a quarter with 29%. A higher number of Pasifika don’t think gender equality is a fundamental right, nor do they think it’s been achieved.
- Thinking we’re making progress across different sectors has been increasing year on year (from Parliament to media to sports to in the home to senior management) but again men are more positive about this progress. This skews to older people also being more positive. Asian respondents were more likely than other ethnicities to believe that we are making progress in specific areas of society. In comparison, Māori and Pasifika were less likely to agree, particularly in terms of achieving the goal of gender equality in Parliament, mass media and the health and education systems. Only 54% think we are making progress in the health and education systems. And 48% in the workplace. With the justice system and advertising being 45%.
- What would equality look like? Overwhelmingly, this answer was ‘women achieving pay parity’ at 75% Followed by ‘more equal sharing of childcare responsibilities between men and women’ and ‘Women would have improved job/career opportunities’ both at 68%. However, in these answers it skews to women. Eg. 83% agreed that, if gender equality had been agreed in New Zealand, women in employment would receive the same pay as men (compared with 68% for male respondents). In general, NZ European/Pākehā were more likely than other ethnicities to believe that, if gender equality had been achieved in New Zealand, women would be equal to men. In comparison, Pasifika in particular were less likely to believe this.
- What do we need to do to get to equality? For negative statements, the highest sat at ‘Less gender stereotyping in the media’ (54%) with ‘a reduction in the rates of domestic violence at 42% and ‘sexual violence’ at 39%’. More stories about women’s sports were thought to have a higher impact on achieving gender equality 51%. In general, Asian respondents, NZ European/Pākehā and Māori were more likely to agree with the negative impacts compared with Pasifika.
- Are all occupations suited to all genders? Fewer respondents this year considered each occupation to be suited to all genders compared with 2017 and 2019. As an example, in 2017 and 2019, 92% and 91% respectively considered ‘leadership roles’ as being suited to all genders, whereas this is 85% this year. Not surprisingly, female respondents were more likely than male respondents to state this.
- Are some personal attributes more important to women than men? Most respondents agreed that the attributes are important for all genders to have, or gender-neutral. Eg, 73% said it is important for all genders to ‘stand up for themselves’ and 70% said it is important for all genders to be ‘caring’. However, some perceived, some are more important for women, eg, 17% say it is more important for women to be ‘caring’ (3% for men), 17% believed it is more important for women to be ‘able to cry in front of friends’ (4% for men) and 17% believed it is more important for women to be ‘physically attractive’ (4% for men).
- What about expectations of men and women? There are high levels of agreement with statements about mothers and fathers having equal responsibility for raising their children (87%), contraception being the responsibility of both men and women (84%) and women having the right to choose whether or not to have an abortion (74%) - this last one is up from 66% in 2017. Agreement with this statement ‘Women feel pressured to choose between being a good wife/mother or having a professional or business career’ and has gone down this year 49% (compared with 54% in 2019).
- What about expectations of men? However, this year, a number of statistically significantly different results from those recorded in 2019 suggest a backward step in opinion: ‘A man who doesn’t fight back when he’s pushed around will lose respect as a man’ (27% of respondents agreed with this statement this year compared with 22% in 2019). ‘Showing physical or emotional weakness makes a man less of a man’ (18% and 12% respectively). ‘Hitting out is an understandable response for a man when his wife or girlfriend tries to end a relationship’ (17% and 9% respectively), this has nearly doubled. ‘Fathers should have more say than mothers in making family decisions’ (16% and 10% respectively).
- Rape assumptions. There has been little change in opinion over the last three surveys, with over one-quarter of all respondents continuing to agree that false rape accusations are common (28%) (down from 35% in 2019). There are statistically significant differences between male and female respondents.
- Sexual diversity. In general, female respondents were more likely than male respondents to state that they would be comfortable with a gay or bisexual man, a lesbian or bisexual woman, a transgender man, a transgender woman or a person with non-binary gender in all the situations. Eg, 80% of female respondents stated they would be comfortable with a gay or bisexual man being part of their immediate family compared with 65% of male respondents.