Latest poll shows sexism to be a continued problem in society
Seven in ten British women have experienced unwanted sexual comments in a public place, a Southbank Centre survey has suggested.
Conducted by Ipsos MORI, Southbank Centre’s WOW – Women of the World poll of 1,000 British adults also revealed that sexism in the workplace has far from been eradicated, with half (47%) of working women experiencing verbal harassment and 27% citing unwanted sexual advances in the workplace.
Published to coincide with International Women’s Day and Southbank Centre’s WOW festival, the poll shows that despite harassment remaining prevalent even today, the number of women who think most men are sexist has halved in the last twenty years. Only 27% of women aged under 65 think that men are generally sexist, compared with 64% in 1995.
The research comes as Southbank Centre prepares to host its sixth WOW festival, which will bring together thousands of women and girls alongside politicians, business leaders, artists, activists and refugees to discuss gender equality and how women can drive solutions to close the gender gap.
The study indicates that younger generations of women feel less optimistic about the future of women’s rights than baby boomers and prewar generations. Conversely, only 34% of women identify as feminist, although figures are much higher amongst those who are university educated, at 44%. The poll also revealed that 48% of women think there are more advantages to being a man in society, with 92% agreeing there are fewer advantages in being a woman.
Among women in employment, work-life balance and not being taken seriously continue to be key issues. Three in four working women say they have experienced difficulties balancing work and family life, while 56% say they have been taken less seriously at work because they are women. 87% of working women with children in their household reported difficulties with balancing work and family life.
Launched in 2011 by Southbank Centre’s Artistic Director, Jude Kelly, WOW has encouraged women and girls to become more vocal about gender equality, and has played an important role in the establishment of the Women’s Equality Party.
Supported by Bloomberg for the last five years, WOW is now the largest women’s festival in the world, with meetings taking place across five continents. 2016’s festival will give women the chance to discuss their heroines’ inspirational achievements, as well as to tackle difficult subjects, such as honour-based violence, alcoholism, rape, trans activism and criminal justice.
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