Who Do You See?
Findings from the EHRC Wales attitudinal survey Everyday encounters
; In Wales breastfeeding in public is seen as an acceptable practice.
72% population felt comfortable seeing a woman breast feeding in
; Significant numbers of Welsh adults consider that, Gypsies and
Travellers, those who from time to time experience depression,
those aged 70 and over and those who are transgender are
unsuitable to be a primary school teacher (mentioned by 33% of
Welsh adults or more).
; Approximately one-quarter of people in Wales believe that a Bed
and Breakfast owner should have the right to refuse a booking from
those aged under age 21.
This document provides the findings from three scenario-type questions in which respondents were asked how people should behave towards different groups of individuals in common everyday situations. These questions were part of the EHRC Wales attitudinal survey and were previously used in a Scottish Social Attitudes survey in 2006 so that broad comparisons could be made.
Should bed and breakfast owners be allowed to refuse bookings?
Although this question focuses on the commercial service of a bed and breakfast business, many people would probably regard it as the owner’s right to decide who to admit into their own home, and in this way the subject matter was deliberately chosen to reveal underlying discriminatory attitudes.
The groups asked about were:
; A couple who are gay or lesbian
; Someone who has a guide dog
; Someone who is from a different ethnic or racial background
; Someone who is aged under 21
; Someone who has a learning disability
For each of the six options, seventy per cent of the Welsh population did not believe that bed and breakfast owners should be allowed to discriminate against members of a group by refusing to take their bookings. However, a significant minority did agree that discrimination was acceptable - over one in ten adults thought discrimination was acceptable for all options mentioned. It was regarded as more acceptable to discriminate against a person on the grounds of their age than on any other options offered. Notably, more respondents believed that someone running a bed and breakfast in their own home should be allowed
to refuse a booking to someone aged under 21 than any other
group (24 per cent of the Welsh public said yes definitely or probably compared with 17 per cent or less for all other statements).
Figure 1.1 Should bed and breakfast owners be allowed to refuse bookings?
Someone aged under 21 24 71 5
Gay or lesbian couple 17 80 3
13 85 2 Someone has a guide dog
Someone from a different ethnic background 13 84 3
Someone is from a different religion 13 83 4
11 86 3 Someone has a learning disability
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100
All yes (probably or definitely) All no (probably or definitely) Don't know / refused
Base: All respondents (unweighted: 1,589, weighted: 1,589)
For five of the six scenario options, the results from Wales were broadly in line with those from the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey
conducted in 2006. These groups were:
; anyone aged under 21
; someone from a different ethnic or racial background ; someone who has a guide dog
; someone from a different religion, and
; someone with a learning difficulty.
Views about whether it was acceptable to refuse a booking to a gay or lesbian couple differed sharply. In Wales 17 per cent of the population thought it would be acceptable to refuse a booking to this group. Whereas around half the Scottish adult population agreed it was acceptable. This difference must be treated with 1 because of the different data collection methods used. caution
Nevertheless, this is a large difference given that respondents in both surveys gave their answer directly to an interviewer. Who supports the right to refuse?
When looking at different groups who supported the right to refuse, men were slightly more likely than women to agree that bed and breakfast owners should be allowed to refuse a booking to a gay or lesbian couple (19 per cent of men compared with 14 per cent of women).
Analysis by age showed that those aged 65 and above were markedly more likely to think that it was acceptable for bed and breakfast owners to refuse a booking to a gay or lesbian couple (27 per cent) compared with 17 per cent of the population as a whole. This was also true when Welsh adults were asked about if they thought it was acceptable to refuse a booking to someone who was from a different racial or ethnic background to themselves (22 per cent of those aged 65 and above thought this was acceptable compared with 13% of the population as a whole). Overall, there was little variation in levels of support for the right to refuse by ethnicity. Although 17 per cent of those from non-white ethnic backgrounds agreed that it would be acceptable for a bed and breakfast owner to refuse a booking to someone because they have a learning disability. This was higher than the 11 per cent of white British or Welsh people who felt this way.
Those who gave their national identity as Welsh were much less likely than those who classed themselves as English, British or another national identity to agree that bed and breakfast owners should have the right to refuse bookings to a gay and lesbian couple, someone with a guide dog, and those with a learning disability. See table 1.1
1 See Notes at end
Those who said they would rather live in an area where most people were similar to them were much more likely, than those who would rather live in an area with different kinds of people or those who had no preference, to agree that bed and breakfast owners should have the right to refuse a booking from: ; a gay and lesbian couple - 23 per cent compared with 15 per
cent of both those who would rather live in an area with different
kinds of people and those who had no preference
; someone from a different ethnic or religious background - 21
per cent compared with 11 per cent and 11 per cent
; someone aged under 21 - 29 per cent compared with 21 per
cent and 23 per cent respectively.
There were few differences amongst those who agreed (yes, definitely / probably) that bed and breakfast owners should have the right to refuse by social class and region.
Table 1.1 Should bed and breakfast owners be allowed to refuse bookings? All who said yes
definitely or probably at each individual group by demographic sub-group.
UnweighWeighted Someone aged Gay or lesbian Someone with Someone from Someone from Someone with
ted base, n = under 21 (%) couple (%) a guide dog (%) a different a different a learning
base, n ethnic religion (%) Disability (%)
= background (%)
Total 24 17 13 13 13 11 1,589 1,589
744 768 Male 24 19 14 14 15 13
845 821 Female 23 14 13 13 12 10
385 413 Age:16-34 28 12 15 12 13 13
598 581 35-54 23 14 12 11 13 8
262 248 55-64 21 16 11 11 11 13
344 347 65+ 23 27 15 22 15 13
1438 1555 White British/ 24 16 13 14 13 11 Welsh
151 34 Other 30 22 19 11 12 17
884 928 Welsh 23 14 10 11 12 8
179 189 English 25 22 20 14 17 14
494 491 British 24 20 15 17 14 15
97 47 Other 30 29 29 22 21 24
236 231 Different kinds 21 15 17 11 10 12 of people
337 342 Similar people 29 23 17 21 18 13
1005 1005 No preference 23 15 11 11 12 10
Who is suitable to be a primary school teacher?
This question was designed ‘to establish the extent to which people accept that everyone should have the same rights to seek 2. This profession was chosen over and secure employment’
others because it involves the care of young children, and was deemed to be a more ‘sensitive area of employment’ which might 3reveal evidence of discriminatory attitudes.
Figure 1.2 presents the responses to this question in order of the proportion who said that a group was fairly or very unsuitable to
being a primary school teacher.
Gypsy Travellers and those who experience depression from time to time were thought the least suited to this role. Almost half of the Welsh population said that these groups would be very or fairly unsuitable - 47 per cent thought that Gypsy Travellers were unsuitable and 46 per cent thought that those who experienced depression were unsuitable for the role.
A significant number (40 per cent) thought that someone aged 70 or older was fairly or very unsuitable for the job of being a primary school teacher. One third (33 per cent) said the same was true of someone who was transgender.
Attitudes towards the remaining groups were less negative, as the majority of the Welsh population agreed that they were suitable for the role. Thus, 78 per cent thought that gay men and lesbian women would be suitable for the role, although this left 12 per cent feeling such individuals were unsuitable. The results found that 90 per cent thought that Black and Asian people would be suitable. Interestingly, the Welsh population thought that men were just as suited to being primary school teachers as women - 94 per cent and 95 per cent respectively. This would suggest that gender stereotyping in relation to this profession is not strong amongst Welsh adults. Women, however, were still more likely than men to be deemed ‘very suitable’ for the role (80 per cent agreed that
women were very suitable compared with 74 per cent who thought that men were very suited to the role).
2 Ibid; p29. 3 Ibid; p29.
Figure 1.2 Who is suitable to be a primary school
A Gypsy traveller 37 12 47 4
Someone who experiences 40 11 46 4 depression
Someone aged 70 or older 50 8 40 2
Someone who is 48 14 33 5 transgender
Gay men or lesbian women 78 8 12 2
90 6 3 2 Black or Asian People
Men 94 4 1
Women 95 4 1
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
All suitable(very/fairly) Neither All unsuitable (very/fairly) Dont know / refused
Base: All respondents (unweighted: 1,589, weighted: 1,589)
In general, Welsh adults were largely more likely than Scottish adults to say that most of the different groups asked about were fairly or very suited to the role of a primary school teacher. For example, in both the Scottish and Welsh surveys Gypsy Travellers received one of the lowest levels of support for being suited to the role. However, only 20 per cent of the Scottish population said that Gypsy Travellers were suited to the role compared with 37 per cent of the population in Wales. A similar trend can be seen for all other groups asked about at this question, with the exception of women where a similar proportion of both the Scottish and the Welsh population agreed they would be suited to the role (95 per cent of the population in Wales and 92 per cent of the population in Scotland said women would be fairly or very suitable).
Who thinks certain groups are less suited to the role of primary school teacher?
There were clear differences in attitude by gender for several of the groups asked about at this question. Similar to the results for the bed and breakfast scenario, men were more likely than women to say that gay men and lesbian women were not suited to the job of being a primary school teacher (16 per cent of men held this view compared with 9 per cent of women).
Men were also more likely than women at this question to say that the following groups would be unsuitable to be primary school teachers:
; people who are transgender - 37 per cent compared with 29
per cent of women
; people who experience depression from time to time - 50 per
cent compared with 42 per cent of women.
Those aged 65 and above were also more likely than average to hold discriminatory attitudes towards certain groups, as follows: ; gay men and lesbian women - 30 per cent compared with 12
per cent of the general population
; people who are transgender - 39 per cent compared with 33 per
cent of the general population
; Gypsy Travellers - 60 per cent compared with 47 per cent of the
Younger and older people were more likely to hold discriminatory attitudes towards those who experience depression. At least half of those aged 16-34 (51 per cent) and 65+ (55 per cent) thought that those experiencing depression from time to time were unsuited to the role. This compared with 39 per cent of those aged 35-54 and 42 per cent of those aged 55-64. This was the only group of people asked about at this question where the youngest age group (16-34) held more discriminatory attitudes than some older age groups, and this may reflect a lack of exposure to depression amongst their peer group or a lack of recognition of the condition.