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Attitude to abortion standout in gender attitude survey

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

National News

Comments from Jackie Edmond, chief executive, Family Planning.

  • Congratulations to the National Council of Women for publishing the third gender attitude survey.
  • The information gathered through this survey is important for measuring how we are progressing on the path to becoming a more gender equal society in Aotearoa.
  • As with other years, there are some positive results. For example, it is encouraging that in 2021, 79% of New Zealanders still believe that gender equality is a fundamental right.
  • Views around responsibility for contraception have not changed since 2017, with 84% of respondents in 2021 believing that it is the responsibility of both men and women. While this is positive, there is also no evidence of progress.
  • One standout result of this survey is the change in attitudes toward abortion. In 2017, the survey found that 66% of respondents believed a woman has a right to choose whether or not she has an abortion. In 2021, this percentage climbed to 74%, a significant shift in support for the right to have an abortion, and evidence of abortion being destigmatised.
  • This result is meaningful and shows we can shift attitudes about issues related to gender equality. Changing attitudes and values about an issue often go hand in hand with legislative change. Whether attitudes shifted before or after abortion law reform in 2020, it is very likely that a successful public campaign and political leadership on these issues has impacted attitudes among the general public.

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