The good majority of Australian women believe there is ‘a lot’ or at least ‘some’ sexism and discrimination against women in workplaces, the media, politics and advertising, according to the latest Essential Research data.
This may not surprise many women, especially those who experience sexism on a regular basis and/or can swiftly read the signs of it occurring around them. However what is surprising is the stark difference between men and women believing high levels of sexism and discrimination against women exist across different areas of Australian life.
According to the poll of 1,031 respondents taken between the 20th and 23rd June (that would be during the days after a menu item mocking our Prime Minister’s body parts made headlines), 73% of women believe a lot or some sexism exists in politics, compared to just 49% of men.
In workplaces, 72% of women believe a lot or some sexism occurs, compared to 47% of men. In the media, that figure was 71% of women compared to 48% of men. And in sport, it was 69% compared to 46% of men.
In advertising, the gap narrows a little, with 69% of women citing a lot or some sexism occurs, compared to 51%of men. The figures were lower in schools, with 46% of women citing such levels of sexism exist and 34% of men.
Since Essential last asked these questions back in October 2012, the number of men and women who believe there is a lot/some sexism in workplaces has risen by 5% to 60%. But it politics, advertising, sport, schools and the media, the results have remained much the same.
And that gap between men and women being aware of sexism and discrimination continues, with women around 150% as likely as men to notice it.
This is despite debate regarding sexism in Australia reaching new levels in recent weeks, following the release of the fake menu associated with a Liberal fundraising event, a public joke made by Socceroos coach Holger Osieck that women should “shut up in public”, and news that a number of people of varying ranks in the Army are being investigated over “derogatory, demeaning and repugnant” emails.
We thought the increased level of debate regarding sexism – no matter how disappointing the news we have to read to see it occur – may result in more awareness of sexism across different aspects of Australian life.
Army Chief David Morrison told his troops that sexists can “get out”. If only someone would take such a stand in politics, the media, advertising and Australian workplaces.