Yumi Stynes has a very quick answer to the question posed by SBS documentary Is Australia Sexist?
But even she was taken aback by some of the real-life harassment uncovered in the latest exploration of the battle of the sexes.
Following the format of last year’s documentary Is Australia Racist?, the one-hour show combines the findings of an academic survey into attitudes and experiences of sexism with hidden camera experiments to illustrate the findings.
“Yes, Australia is (sexist). It is not a surprise, not even faintly,” Stynes says with a laugh.
“I think most women are not surprised by this and I think most men are terribly surprised by this documentary.”
The Is Australia Sexist? survey was conducted by SBS in conjunction with Sydney’s Macquarie University in April using a sample of 3599 Australians aged 18 to 65 and over.
It found 40 per cent of women aged 18 to 25 had experienced sexual harassment in a public place in the previous 12 months, 22 per cent of men believed women should take being wolf-whistled on the street as a compliment, and roughly one in three women and one in two men believed feminism had gone “too far”.
“I think most men are terribly surprised by this documentary.”
Stynes says disconnection between men and women was at the heart at the documentary and she hopes it will start conversations about what sexism looks and feels like to the people who experience it.
“For instance, (the survey asked) have you ever experienced sexism in the workplace? A whole bunch of women say yes and a whole bunch of men don’t say yes, and the essence of the documentary is to try to represent that and use hidden cameras to capture it in real life,” the writer, TV presenter and radio host says.
“When we successfully capture that moment, men can see that we are not making it up, this is actually happening and this is not some sort of illusion, and they quite clearly get it.”
The experiments test a range of hotspots for sexism including the gender pay gap, gendered play with children, behaviours in online dating, harassment in the workplace and street harassment.
In one experiment, hidden cameras follow a young woman through Perth to capture men’s responses, while another sees comedian Tegan Higginbotham flip the script and gauge men’s reactions when they are catcalled on the street by a woman.
Stynes says the biggest eye-opener for her was diving into the world of online dating by creating her own Tinder profile.
After receiving a barrage of disturbing sexually explicit comments and later confronting one of the men who sent them, the passionate advocate for gender equality says she can understand why the survey revealed 43 per cent of Australians felt online dating was a greater issue than street harassment.
“The Tinder experience was illuminating because I have never done online dating, but also, it was the space around sexism where I was most surprised by what it was like,” she says.
“But change is actually possible and change is happening. Women are part of the system now and we are finding our voices and our language and our fight around sexism, and I think that will help change things for our generation and for the next generation.”
Is Australia Sexist? airs on December 4 at 8.40pm on SBS.