Gender Equal NZ publishes results from first gender attitudes survey

Thu 19 Apr 2018

Results have been published from the first survey of gender attitudes in Aotearoa New Zealand. Gender Equal NZ, led by the National Council of ...

Results have been published from the first survey of gender attitudes in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Gender Equal NZ, led by the National Council of Women, commissioned Research New Zealand to design and conduct the survey. The Gender Attitudes Survey 2017 is the first nationally representative survey of its kind in New Zealand. The survey was run in July and August 2017. More than 1200 people completed the survey.

People were asked their views about gender roles in the household, at school, at work and in the community. The survey also included questions about gender inequality, rape and consent, healthy relationships, sexuality and gender diversity.

The survey found that while 79% of New Zealanders agreed gender equality is a human right, the survey found that some people still hold strong ideas about gender roles that can contribute to gender inequality.

National Council of Women Chief Executive and Gender Equal NZ spokesperson Gill Greer said:

“The good news is most New Zealanders recognise gender equality is a fundamental right for all of us. But we are seeing a pocket of New Zealanders that hold old-fashioned views about gender stereotypes and roles. These views hold all New Zealanders back from achieving true gender equality.”

Some of the results were positive indications including:

  • 85% think fathers and mothers should equally share responsibility for raising their children
  • 78% don’t think hitting out is an understandable response for a man when his wife or girlfriend tries to leave a relationship.

However, some results represented traditional views about gender roles:

  • 31% of men think that a man who doesn’t fight back when he’s pushed around will lose respect as a man
  • 19% of New Zealanders think it is more important for men to be seen in a position of power in NZ society
  • 11% of New Zealanders think fathers should have more say than mothers in making family decisions
  • 24% of New Zealanders think rape happens when a man’s sex drive is out of control
  • 13% of New Zealanders and one fifth of men think that showing physical or emotional weakness makes a man less of a man.

Good Guys Spokesperson and It’s Not OK Champion Jeremy Epairama said

"These ideas of what makes a 'real man' are harmful. They leave men who can’t live up to them feeling like they are failing at being a man. These ideas hurt all of us including women and other genders. They lead to heavy drinking, poor health and dangerous driving. They create barriers which prevent male survivors of sexual violence from getting help. They contribute to men’s violence towards women and other genders – from sexual harassment to partner violence to rape."

In the Introduction to the report, Sandra Dickson, Programme Advisor, writes:

"Gender Equal NZ is focused on the attitudes and social norms that underpin gender inequalities, for all genders. The enduring negative outcomes across gender in New Zealand in economic independence, safety and health, education and influence and decision making do not just rely on ideas of 'opposite' sexes. They rely on the idea that masculinity is somehow better than femininity. This is old-fashioned sexism, and it’s been around for a while. Even though discrimination can be more subtle than it once was, the idea of male superiority is vividly illustrated by our survey results."

The full survey report is available on the Gender Equal NZ website. Gender Equal NZ has also published an infographic and video encouraging questioning of ideas about "real men." These encourage ways to think of men as "Good Guys – with good relationships with their kids, partners, friends and everyone else."

Gender Equal NZ is also inviting organisations to conduct the survey in their own organisation to look at staff views about gender equality and related issues. Contact for more information.

More information

Gender Equal NZ is a movement focused on addressing sexism and gender stereotypes that persist in Aotearoa New Zealand, preventing women and people of all genders from achieving their potential. For more information about Gender Equal NZ see our story on New movement Gender Equal NZ launched to address sexism and stereotypes.

Related news

Australia-based VicHealth has produced a new guide to help advocates address resistance to gender equality initiatives. (En)countering resistance: Strategies to respond to resistance to gender equality initiatives (2018) is designed for people working for gender equality in a range of sectors including education, sport, workplace, local government, health and media.


Promundo, a global agency working on gender justice and violence prevention, has published a new research brief on toxix masculinity and sexual abuse. The brief, Unmasking Sexual Harassment: How Toxic Masculinities Drive Men’s Abuse in the US, UK, and Mexico and What We Can Do to End It (2018), shares results from a survey of more than 1,000 young men each in the US, UK, and Mexico. The researchers explored young men’s views about manhood and sexual harassment. For more information also see their more detailed report, Masculine Norms and Violence: Making the Connections (2018).

Selected media

First of a Kind Research Award, Press release: Gill Greer, Chief Executive | National Council of Women, Scoop, 22.08.2018

Gender Equal NZ wins Research Association award, Press Release: Gender Equal NZ, Scoop, 18.08.2018

Old-fashioned views about gender roles hold us all back from true equality, Opinion: Gill Greer, Chief Executive, National Council of Women; spokesperson for Gender Equal NZ, Community.Scoop, 16.05.2018

Paid partner leave would help to achieve gender equality, Media Release, Gender Equal NZ, 15.05.2018

Paid-partner leave would help close gender pay gap - expert, Radio NZ, 14.05.2018

The National Council of Women is calling on Good Guys on our Founders’ Day, National Council of Women of New Zealand website, 13.04.2018

Gender attitudes: Why can't girls study physics and boys play with dolls?, Stuff, 09.04.2018

Image: Pixabay

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