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PM's health graphic branded 'sexist'

Published: 3:09PM Tuesday December 18, 2012 Source: ONE News

  • The health graphic posted by Prime Minister John Key on Twitter. (Source: / John Key)
    The health graphic posted by Prime Minister John Key on Twitter. - Source: / John Key

John Key has caused a storm on Twitter by posting a graphic that portrays doctors as men and nurses as women.

The Prime Minister's tweet was intended to demonstrate the National Government's progress in increasing the numbers of doctors and nurses, but did so using a graphic that uses male and female icons to represent doctors and nurses respectively.

The post has quickly been retweeted by followers of the Prime Minister, with many ridiculing the message as an example of sexism and old-fashioned ideas about gender roles.

Sarin Moddle tweeted directly at the Prime Minister: "According to your handy diagram, my lady parts automatically mean I am a nurse, not a doctor. Chur."

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei also commented on the tweet, saying: "NZ women take note: John Key doesn't think you are capable of being a doctor."

She followed up that message with some statistics, saying that "NZ has more women med school grads than men, more first year doctors than men 7% of nurses are men".

Marie Bismark  saw the tweet from Australia and wrote: "Who made decision to perpetuate sexist stereotype of male Drs & female nurses? Why? Do you think this is OK? @johnkeypm".

In contrast, Wayne Hay was sceptical of the outcry, tweeting: "Come on! Surely NZ isn't that PC!! Most doctors are men. Most nurses are women."

A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister has told ONE News deputy political editor Jessica Mutch that any offence caused by the graphic was unintentional.

"The Prime Minister's office put the graphic up on his Facebook and Twitter site," she said. "It was a diagram to indicate the improvements we've made in the health sector. No offence was intended."

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