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Sex matters

Old couple sitting on bench facing view of mountains

Much of the data that is emerging about people’s feelings and concerns about COVID-19 and the lockdown is, not surprisingly, influenced by their personal circumstances.

Employment status, vulnerable age or immune suppressed, industry type and, of course, if you know someone who has been sick.

In a nutshell

  1. Women are more concerned about COVID-19 and they are also significantly more likely to have feelings of pride about being a Kiwi and about New Zealand as a whole.
  2. Under 30% women think that New Zealand society is fair for all people and treats everyone the same compared to around 45% of men.
  3. Most brands include men and women in their audience. But where possible, there's value in taking these feelings on board when talking to women.

But there is another significant influencing factor, gender.

Women are more concerned about COVID-19 and they are also significantly more likely to have feelings of pride about being a Kiwi and about New Zealand as a whole. For example, 44% of women strongly agree that they are more proud to be a New Zealander as a result of the way New Zealand is dealing with coronavirus versus 28% of men. And, pride in New Zealand as a whole shows a similar difference, 40% of women strongly agree vs 27% of men.

And, as regards the future when things are ’back to normal’ there is an overall trend toward women more likely to be expecting things to be different, for example more working from home, career changes and more focus on savings.

There are also some big differences as regards women’s beliefs about what New Zealand society values. Most notably around fairness and equality. Under 30% women think that New Zealand society is fair for all people and treats everyone the same compared to around 45% of men. And they have a much more powerful personal conviction that they have strong sense of what’s right and wrong (79% of women vs 58% of men).

We also know that women have a different mindset around technology and the digital world. They have more concerns about the dangers posed by being online and they also feel less competent at being able to protect themselves and their families compared to how men feel.

Most organisations and brands include both men and women in their audience, but when granular communications enable more targeted messaging and tone, there would be value in taking these feelings on board when talking to women.

  1. Speak to pride in being a Kiwi and how New Zealand has responded to the pandemic.
  2. Acknowledge that they are reflecting on the future and how it may change for them.
  3. Recognise their concerns about fairness and equality in society – especially at a time when this is thrown into sharp relief.
  4. Support their concerns around digital safety.

It's never been more important to make information-based decisions. Because although the country is in lockdown, organisations still have to make choices that will guide their actions and determine the success of what they do.

So, in this series, we’re sharing what TRA knows about New Zealanders to help inform better decision making, so that our companies can better serve people. 

Read the other articles in this series:

Kiwis or New Zealanders?
When progress is on pause, how should organisations behave?

A nation of independently minded rule-benders
When visions of a new life add uncertainty
What do Kiwis want brands to get behind?

Colleen Ryan
Partner at TRA

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