Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2010: Attitudes to discrimination and positive action
The Scottish Social Attitudes survey explored attitudes to discrimination in 2002, 2006 and 2010. The 2010 survey explored attitudes in relation to gender, age, disability, race, religion, sexual orientation and transgender.
The main findings of the Scottish Social Attitudes 2010 questions on discrimination and positive action are summarised below.
1) Discriminatory attitudes:
- 28% of people in Scotland felt that there was sometimes good reason to be prejudiced against certain groups, while 66% believed Scotland should do everything it can to get rid of all kinds of prejudice.
- 55% of people said they would be unhappy with someone who cross-dresses in public forming a relationship with a close family member; 37% said the same of a Gypsy/Traveller.
- 50% said that sexual relationships between two adults of the same sex are either rarely wrong or not wrong at all, compared with 27% who thought they were always or mostly wrong.
- A majority (61%) agreed that gay or lesbian couples should have the right to marry one another if they want to.
- 3 in 10 (31%) felt someone who has had a sex change operation would be an unsuitable primary teacher. 46% said that Gypsies/Travellers were unsuitable for such a position; 18% said the same of gay men and lesbians, 15% of a Muslim, and 6% of a black or Asian person. 41% felt that someone who experiences depression from time to time and 39 % felt that someone aged 70 would be unsuitable for such a position.
- 31% felt that "People from ethnic minorities take jobs away from other people in Scotland". 37% believed that "People who come here from Eastern Europe take jobs away from other people in Scotland".
- 15% of people felt that a bank should be allowed to ask employees to remove crucifixes, 23% - to remove headscarves and 24% - turbans. 69% of people thought banks should be allowed to ask a Muslim employee to remove a veil that covered their face.
2) Support for positive action:
- 76% agreed that shops and banks should take action to reduce barriers to disabled people using their services, even if this leads to higher prices.
- 93% believed that providing information about public services in 'easy read' formats for people with learning disabilities is a good use of government money.
- Attitudes to providing information about public services in translation for people who do not speak English well were divided - 47% felt this was a good use of government money, but 34% thought it was a bad use.
- Respondents were also asked whether they felt providing funding for organisations that focus on helping particular groups of people find work was a good or a bad use of government money. Support for this kind of targeted action varied depending on the group in question. 75% felt that funding this kind of support for people over 50 or for people who experience depression from time to time was a good use of money, compared with between 31% and 43% who said the same with respect to funding support for Gypsies/Travellers, gay men and lesbians, Muslims and black and Asian people to find work.
- 37% felt that increasing training opportunities for women would be unfair; 48% felt that providing more training to black or Asian staff would be unfair.
- A majority felt that giving a suitably qualified disabled candidate an automatic interview for a job or only interviewing women for a post would be unfair (63% and 79% respectively).
3) Changes in attitudes since 2006:
- Relatively little change since 2006 in the extent to which people expressed discriminatory attitudes.
- Two main exceptions: a further decline in discriminatory attitudes towards gay men and lesbians, and a small increase in the proportion who felt that people from ethnic minority groups and people from Eastern Europe take jobs away from other people in Scotland.
- The proportion of people who viewed positive action to help increase the labour market prospects of black and Asian people and disabled people as unfair also increased.
The full summary of the Scottish Social Attitudes survey 2010.
Email: Graeme Bryce, Graeme.Bryce@scotland.gsi.gov.uk
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House