More young women than ever now call themselves feminists

Nearly 70% of young women aged 18 to 24 call themselves feminist and say that sexism is a major problem in the UK, according to new research by Young Women’s Trust.

The annual poll also revealed one in 10 young women took part in a protest or other form of activism in the last year, indicating a rise in civil and political protesting among those who feel ignored by decision makers.

The number of young women calling themselves feminists marks an increase of 12% from the previous year’s poll result.

Young Women’s Trust Chief Executive Sophie Walker said:

“It’s fantastic to see so many young women reclaiming a word for so long falsely branded as toxic and now using it to assert their fight for equal rights.

“The failure of today’s politicians to respond to women’s needs, the rise of misogynistic populism and the resulting resurgence of activism from the Women’s March to #MeToo has encouraged many young women to take matters into their own hands.

“By asserting themselves as feminist – which let us be clear, is defined in the dictionary as a person who supports the belief that women should have the same rights and opportunities as men – young women are carrying on the work of women who won the right sit in Parliament and vote a century ago, and taking bold steps to assert their equality.”

The survey, which was carried out for Young Women’s Trust by Populus Data Solutions, found that a third of men (31%) aged 18 to 30 say they are a feminist.  Among 18 to 30 year-old women, 57% identified themselves as feminist – up from 50% from 2018, a 14% increase or 380,000 more young women. Whereas younger women aged 18 to 24 (67%) were more likely to say they are a feminist than 25 to 30 year olds (46%), there was no difference between men in their late teens and early 20s and those in their mid and late 20s.

Added Walker“Young women are affected by sexism every day. 74% tell us they experience sexism in the workplace. 1 in 4 fear being fired if they report sexual harassment at work. And more than half say that as things stand, sex discrimination will still exist when they’re 40.

“Political parties take note: Our poll suggests there are now 3.1 million feminist young women potential voters in the UK. And they’re not going to put up with being second-class citizens any longer.”

The poll was carried out for Young Women’s Trust by Populus Data Solutions from 25 June to 11 July 2019 and samples 4025 people, half women, half men.

Note to editors

The survey also found:

  • 70% of young women with a disability or long-term health condition said they felt they were not listened to by those in power.
  • 73% of young women with a disability or long-term health condition and 67% of young BAME women agreed that sexism is a major problem in the UK.
  • 64% agreed that sexism is a major problem in the UK as compared to 2018, 58%.
  • 74% of young women in 2019 (compared to 71% in 2018) said that women still face discrimination in the workplace.
  • 69% said their confidence in politicians has plummeted in the last year. That number rose to 72% among young women aged 18 to 24 years old.
  • 1 in 10 young women polled saying they took part in a demonstration or protest in last 12 months.
  • Young women are more likely than young men to be worried about the amount their job pays (53% vs 46%), to have been offered a zero-hours contract (39% vs 32%), and to have been offered less than the minimum wage (20% vs 16%).
  • 1 in 4 young women fear being fired for reporting sexual harassment.