New Zealand’s first Gender Attitudes Survey shows strong ideas about what boys and men “should” be like hold us all back

Gender Equal NZ, led by the National Council of Women, has released the results of New Zealand’s first Gender Attitudes Survey, along with the Good Guys animated short film and infographic.

“We carried out this demographically representative survey with Research NZ in late 2017” says National Council of Women CE and Gender Equal NZ spokesperson Gill Greer.  “The Gender Attitudes Survey tested attitudes around gender roles – in the household, at school, at work and in the community and gives us a snapshot of where we’re at in New Zealand on gender”

“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” says Gill, “these views hold all New Zealanders back from achieving true gender equality.”

The results show there are some strong ideas about what girls and women can do and be, and even more about what boys and men “should” be like – and what makes a “real man”.

  • 1 in 5 New Zealanders do not believe it’s ok for boys to play with dolls
  • 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

“These strong ideas about being a man put sexual prowess, being strong and making money above empathy, being kind and vulnerability. But these are important skills for Good Guys and people of all genders” says Gill. These attitudes also reinforce the idea that men are superior to women, and that women are naturally passive and submissive.

Gender Equal NZ wants all New Zealanders to question ideas about “real men” that get in the way of men being Good Guys – with good relationships with their kids, partners, friends and everyone else.  “We’ve created a Good Guys animated film and infographic which New Zealanders can use, and share, as a starting point to question these ideas which hurt us all” says Gill.

Good Guys Spokesperson and It’s Not OK Champion Jeremy Epairama says “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” says Jeremy “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.”

Jeremy is one of eight Good Guys Spokespeople that are working with Gender Equal NZ to encourage New Zealanders to stand up to these old-fashioned views and help drive change.

Good Guys Spokesperson and It’s Not OK Champion Richie Hardcore supports the call to action. “Men who see what’s wrong with that sexist joke or that creepy behaviour – you won’t be the only man who’s uncomfortable. Be a Good Guy – speak out, you can make a difference.”

“Eight men kill themselves every week in New Zealand” says Richie, “It’s time to change these old-fashioned attitudes, for all of us.”

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