Gender equality matters for all of us

We are fighting for gender equality because we want all New Zealanders to have the freedom and opportunity to determine their own future.

Discrimination can be more subtle than it once was. We see it in our everyday interactions, with gender inequality being revealed  in attitudes and assumptions. For some, gender inequality is more obvious.  For all of us, the job is not done.

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Where we once led in gender equality, New Zealand has now slipped to be ranked at 9th in the world. Did you know New Zealand has the worst reported rates of sexual and domestic violence in the whole OECD? Or that about one third of our MPs are women? 

It’s time for all of us to question the status quo. Most of the time, we’re given two options – you’re either a man or a woman. And being a man or a woman comes with these stereotypes about being a “real man” or a “real woman”. A real man is strong, earning lots and getting laid – right? A real woman is beautiful, a good cook and someone who looks after others – right? Well – not quite.

The unequal value attached to femininity and masculinity – we usually see this reduced to women and men – leads to unequal division of power, resources and therefore opportunities.

These ideas about what makes a “real man” or a “real woman” are limiting for all of us.  They don’t allow most people to express all of who we are.  The reality is that most people have both characteristics that are seen as more masculine and characteristics that are seen as more feminine, and that’s just fine.

We know that 3.7% of secondary school students describe themselves as trans or “not sure” of their gender. Which means about 1 in 25 of our young people don’t feel like the gender they were ascribed at birth tells the whole story of who they are.

If we could break down these rigid expectations around gender, we’d create more room for everyone. Getting rid of the norms that cause gendered violence, pay inequality, the devaluing of caregiving work and parenting and inequalities in leadership roles – just to name a few outcomes – would change our world for the better.

Join us and help us to make equality, reality.

Our kaupapa: Making equality, reality.

Where we once led in gender equality, New Zealand has now slipped to be ranked at 9th in the world. Did you know New Zealand has the worst reported rates of sexual and domestic violence in the whole OECD? Or that about one third of our MPs are women? 

It’s time for all of us to question the status quo. Most of the time, we’re given two options – you’re either a man or a woman. And being a man or a woman comes with these stereotypes about being a “real man” or a “real woman”. A real man is strong, earning lots and getting laid – right? A real woman is beautiful, a good cook and someone who looks after others – right? Well – not quite.

The unequal value attached to femininity and masculinity – we usually see this reduced to women and men – leads to unequal division of power, resources and therefore opportunities.

These ideas about what makes a “real man” or a “real woman” are limiting for all of us.  They don’t allow most people to express all of who we are.  The reality is that most people have both characteristics that are seen as more masculine and characteristics that are seen as more feminine, and that’s just fine.

We know that 3.7% of secondary school students describe themselves as trans or “not sure” of their gender. Which means about 1 in 25 of our young people don’t feel like the gender they were ascribed at birth tells the whole story of who they are.

If we could break down these rigid expectations around gender, we’d create more room for everyone. Getting rid of the norms that cause gendered violence, pay inequality, the devaluing of caregiving work and parenting and inequalities in leadership roles – just to name a few outcomes – would change our world for the better.

Join us and help us to make equality, reality.

Talking back

By Bex Fraser

But you’re not a man, are you? she says to me. Look at you, you have breasts, you’ve given birth to a child. How can you not be a woman? And other things she has said to me: I will not indulge dysphoria. I support the right of trans people to exist, but trans women are not women. Trans men are not real men. And what are you anyway? Not even trans. She says: I am fighting for gender to not make a difference to how women are treated and you are entrenched in gender. You are soaked in it. You are soaked in misogyny. She sends me memes: Gender is the problem not the solution. You hate yourself: I get it, she says, the patriarchy makes us hate ourselves. You are still a woman, you can learn to love yourself. And yet also: you are a traitor, she says. You are undoing all our work.

And it is pretty hard to argue back, when someone has said you aren’t a thing.

But I ask you to listen to me, to listen to how I know I am not a woman, with the same inner voice that tells you that you *are* one. This is me at four confused about why there are two categories, it is me at seven hearing my nana say my father would be so happy to have a son, and I thought I was one? Although not with a penis? Is it not a penis? What is the difference? It is me at twenty, assuming I am ‘one-of-the-guys’ and reminded by rape that I am not. It is me at thirty, startled when my little child tells me I can still grow up to be a prince because that is who I always pretend to be in all the fairy stories. It is me at thirty-five and I have told none of my friends about being non-binary so they just assume I am a woman. It is me at forty, crying when my lover holds me softly in her hands and looks in my eyes to tell me I am handsome. It is me wanting gender equality to mean you will accept that being neither a man nor a woman is a gender as valid as yours, as real as yours. It is me needing you to not hold a window to my genitals so that you can say ‘woman’, it is me needing you to listen to my head and to my heart.