A recent survey in New Zealand has revealed a shocking fact about New Zealand. 4% of New Zealand citizens do not know what a ‘heterosexual’ person is compared to 1% each who did not know about ‘Gay men’, ‘Lesbian Women’ and about 2% did not know about ‘Bisexual’ persons.
A 2017 Gender Attitude Survey in New Zealand conducted by Gender Equal NZ tried to capture the pockets of ‘gender inequality’ in NZ and published a report in early 2018. The report found some New Zealanders believing in the gendered division of labor and attitude which according to the researchers were sexist and greatest hindrance to New Zealand’s growth.
The Gender Attitude survey was conducted in 2017, in 15 different categories, viz.
- Gender roles in the home
- Gender roles in education
- Gender roles in the workplace
- New Zealand society and gender
- Attitudes towards gender
- Attitudes towards gender for girls and boys
- Attitudes towards rape
- Defining Gender Equality
- Gender Equality and Inequality in New Zealand
- State of Gender Equality in New Zealand
- What do New Zealanders see as impacts of gender equality?
- Consent and Gender Diversity Education
- Who is disadvantaged by gender inequality?
- Knowledge of Gender and Sexuality Diversity
- Attitudes to people with diverse gender and sexual identities
To understand the gender equality situation in New Zealand as elaborated in this survey, we will first understand the ‘sexist’ findings of this survey, and will then evaluate the tall claims made in this survey.
Gender roles in NZ home
The survey found ‘sexism’ and gender ‘inequality’ in the gender roles played and expected from the genders in performing different tasks at an NZ home.
While labor-intensive household jobs like Mowing the lawn, Driving the family and Putting the rubbish out is still predominantly considered as male responsibilities, 1% New Zealanders believed that men in the house should cook meals and also look after children and 14% thought women should do shopping. However, 11% thought earning household income is also a male responsibility. So, contrary to what researchers wanted to show, this survey showed sexism against men and not against women.
Gender roles in NZ education
More New Zealanders who took the Gender Attitude survey believed that the Science subjects like Maths, Physics, and Material Science are more suitable for boys compared to girls and subjects like Fashion technology, Food technology etc. are more suited for girls. Even though the difference in percentages was very small and significant percentage of the population (>70%) believed in equal participation of genders in all types of education, a question arose whether individual choices should matter here?
Gender roles in NZ workplaces
More significant differences were found in job roles and the New Zealanders who believed in the gendered division of labour predominantly considered labor-intensive jobs like Engineer, Farmer, the armed forces and builder jobs roles were for males; while social worker, nurse, hairdresser etc. were female roles.
Gender and NZ society
The 2017 Gender Attitude survey NZ also asked its’ participants about some characteristics that are considered important for the genders. The ‘sexist’ NZ (a handful of those who believed in gender-based differences) believed that a well-paying job, a position of power, being in charge, being sporty etc. were male characteristics while they believed being able to cry in front of friends, being caring and being physically attractive were female characteristics.
Attitude towards Gender in NZ
85% New Zealanders believed that both mothers and fathers should be equally responsible for raising children, 43% agreed that a full-time career is important to progress in career (26% thought otherwise), 11% thought Fathers should have more say than mothers in making family decisions (are these 11% were the ones who thought men are primarily responsible for family income?). 53% New Zealanders believed that NZ women feel pressure to choose between being a good wife and successful in a career (18% didn’t think so). 66% agreed that women should have right to choose whether she wanted an abortion.
Attitude towards Gender for boys and girls in NZ
In this section, questions were directed for understanding the social conditioning of gender norms early in life when one is a boy or a girl. Questions like whether a girl can ask a boy out on a date and whether boys can play netball or with dolls and whether girls can play rough sports were asked to find out ‘sexism’.
Attitude Towards Rape
The 2017 Gender Attitude Survey, NZ also tried to understand the rape culture in NZ. Questions asked were to understand the perspective of New Zealanders about rape. 7% believed that unless one puts up a fight, it can’t be considered as a rape but 82% disagreed to that. 29% agreed that false rape acquisitions are very common while 26% denied that. 24% believed that rape happens when a man’s sexual urge is beyond his control. Also, whether behavior like rape in drunk condition makes lessens one’s crime etc. were asked. Interesting to note, that even Gender Equal guys in NZ thought only men could rape. Yes, making men as perpetrators of all crimes was one of the agendas of GE guys.
Defining Gender Equality
The gender Attitude survey, NZ also tried to understand the perspective of New Zealanders about Gender Equality. Here’s is the outcome –
A majority (42%) of people thought ‘Equal Rights, responsibilities and opportunities’ is what is meant by equality and 35% thought gender equality is achieved when ‘all genders are treated equally’. Equal access to jobs and pay was another criterion.
Importance of Gender Equality in NZ society
This part of the survey tried to understand the importance of practicing gender equality in NZ. 79% believed that equality is a fundamental right in NZ, 51% thought NZ didn’t achieve gender equality and 45% disagreed that gender equality has been achieved in most part of New Zealand.
State of Gender Equality in NZ
In this section, the survey wanted to know which part of NZ society achieved gender equality. 22- 23% believed it’s poorly achieved in NZ homes, Justice System, advertising, sports, armed forces, welfare system and in parliament. 31% thought NZ workplaces weren’t gender equal, 20% thought the education system in NZ was not equal, 17% thought the same for NZ health system etc. A point
Impact of Gender Equality
The Gender Attitude survey, 2017 also tried to find out the impact of gender equality in the society from the respondents. More than 50% people thought gender equality brought improved access to healthcare, equal share in childcare, subjects chosen by kids in schools and colleges, participation in politics, senior management, wages paid and sharing household chores. Also, many people thought that gender equality reduced of domestic violence (39%), sexual violence (36%), suicide rate (31%), improved access to abortion services (38%), drug abuse (29%) and increased value of unpaid work (41%).
Consent and gender diversity in education
In this section, the survey wanted the respondents to tell their perspectives about right age of learning gender diversity education.
The Disadvantaged by gender inequality
This section brought important parameters to understand the perspective of New Zealanders about gender inequality.
How NZ perceived disadvantages of genders
35% of those who thought women, in general, suffer the most from gender inequality in NZ, had different reasons for the same. 45% of them thought there existed a glass ceiling in jobs in terms of the wage gap and senior roles etc. while 21% thought stereotypes about gender roles (childcare, unpaid work etc.) still existed. No one, however, thought that NZ women were not given equal opportunities. 20% of the respondents didn’t know why they thought women were disadvantaged.
21% of these Respondents thought Lesbian and bisexual women were most disadvantaged, while 11% thought transsexual women were at disadvantage. No one, however, thought that women were discriminated against in NZ homes and no older woman was discriminated against. However, 28% of those who chose specific groups of women are disadvantaged, didn’t know why they chose that option.
9% respondents who thought men were disadvantaged because of gender inequality had varied reasons. A majority of 18% thought ‘men are not treated equally in workplaces’ and another 17% thought ‘NZ men need to prove their masculine image’ and hence there is high suicide rate in NZ. 14% each thought men are being persecuted for being men and also men are not treated equally in justice system (child custody/access, rape cases, sentencing etc.). 7% thought the political correctness discriminates men and 3% thought media projects men as stupid. 23%, however, didn’t know why they chose men were discriminated against.
20% of those who thought specific groups of men were discriminated against, a majority (37%) thought gay and bisexual men were the victims. Another 13% thought gay and transgender men are discriminated against. However, the reason to mention gay/bisexual/transgender men twice in the survey was not understood.
23% people who thought non-binary people in NZ were discriminated against, a majority (29%) was because these people can’t fit them in a box (in workplace, toilets, filling in forms). 30%, however, didn’t know why they chose these people to be disadvantaged.
Knowledge of gender and Sexual Diversity
The most surprising fact that has come out of the survey was more people didn’t know about ‘heterosexual’ people than ‘gay’, ‘lesbian’ or ‘bisexuals’. The survey revealed, that 1% respondents each didn’t know what is a ‘Gay Man’ and a ‘Lesbian Woman’, 2% didn’t know about ‘Bisexual’ people, however, 4% of them didn’t know about ‘heterosexual’ people.
Attitude towards other Gender and Sexual Diversity
While more than 90% respondents said, they would be comfortable in having ‘heterosexual’ people in their lives in different roles, less than 80% would be comfortable in accepting ‘Gay and Bisexual’ men in these roles. Only 61% said they would be comfortable in having such a man as their father. A similar response came for ‘Lesbian and Bisexual’ women as well. For transgender men and women, it was even lesser. Surprisingly, New Zealand expressed more acceptability towards non-binary people. 71% said they would be comfortable in seeing non-binary people as parents.
Champions of Gender Equality or Shaming ‘Heterosexuals’
In their report, Gender Equal NZ mentioned two regressive groups of people; one, who thought two genders to be different and the second, who believed the male gender to be superior to women.
To break these so-called ‘bias’, they said, ‘there are very few men who can hit a tennis ball as hard as Serena Williams’. Don’t laugh alone, if you understood that these ‘equality’ warriors just proved what level of intellectual ability they had. They compared one highly trained woman athlete in a particular sport with men who were not even trained in that sport. If there existed any comparison between sexes in terms of strength, then it was in the abilities of average people of that gender and some exceptions (like Serena Williams) can’t prove it otherwise. If you are wondering why do women athletes inject male hormone for better performance in sports, you can probably ask Gender Equality NZ. Another question that arises out of this is if women can be so good, then why is there are separate gender-based sports events in every field. Why these ‘talented’ and ‘powerful’ women athletes don’t compete with male athletes to prove their supremacy?
So, these equality warriors claim that in a world of binary genders (where we believe that there exist only two genders, i.e. male and female) that creates a lot of problems, because ‘1.7% of global population is living with intersex conditions’. The report mentioned that 3.7% students in NZ high Schools say they are transgenders or not sure of their gender.
So, as revealed in this survey the concern of gender equality drive was for those ‘confused’ souls (they are termed as players in Gender Equal NZ report) who were not sure about their gender. Those ‘confused’ people now talk about masculinity and gender roles. Now, through this survey the heterosexual people and those who were not confused about their gender identity were shamed into believing some people who did not actually care about gender relations, were confused about their sexual identity and sexual orientation. These few confused players’ (as GE NZ termed them) now tells the majority of heterosexuals that they are sick people.