Data revealed yesterday by Essential Research puts the issue of sexism in Australia into stark relief.
Asked how much discrimination against women and sexism occurs across the media, in workplaces and in politics, most voters thought there was some or a lot in workplaces, the media, politics, sport and advertising. But that outcome masked a huge gulf between men and women: 47% of men think some or a lot of discrimination against women occurs in the workplace, but 72% of women believe that. Forty eight per cent of men think there’s some or a lot in the media, but 71% of women do; 73% of women believe there’s sexism in politics, 49% of men do.
Only in advertising did more than half of men — 51% — see discrimination against women, compared to 69% of women. In sport, only 46% of men saw sexism compared to 69% of women.
In short, women are around 150% as likely as men to be aware of sexism and discrimination.
The numbers suggest how sexism continues to be the lived experience of most women, whether it’s the lower pay or the unwanted sexual attention in the workplace, the crassly anti-women ad, the asinine comment from a male shock jock, the obsession with Julia Gillard’s body or the double standard on appearances for female politicians. Many men — nearly half — are also aware of the problem, commendably, but plainly many other men simply fail to see what women still have to endure.
General David Morrison’s comment about the latest Australian Defence Force scandal — that “the standard you walk past is the standard you accept” — has quickly become an iconic line about sexism in Australia. Sadly, not merely do many Australian men continue to walk past the problem, but they don’t even notice it as they do so.