More young women than ever now call themselves feminists

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Nearly 70 percent of young women aged 18-24 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 percent 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 percent) aged 18-30 say they are a feminist.  Among 18-30 year-old women, 57 percent identified themselves as feminist - up from 50 percent from 2018, a 14 percent increase or 380,000 more young women. Whereas younger women aged 18-24 (67 percent) were more likely to say they are a feminist than 25-30 year olds (46 percent), 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 percent tell us they experience sexism in the workplace. One in four 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 25th June-11th July 2019 and samples 4025 people, half women, half men.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

The survey also found:

  • 70 percent of young women with a disability or long-term health condition said they felt they were not listened to by those in power.
  • 73 percent of young women with a disability or long-term health condition and 67 percent of young BAME women agreed that sexism is a major problem in the UK. 
  • 64 percent agreed that sexism is a major problem in the UK as compared to 2018, 58 percent.
  • 74 percent of young women in 2019 (compared to 71 percent in 2018) said that women still face discrimination in the workplace.
  • 69 percent said their confidence in politicians has plummeted in the last year. That number rose to 72 percent among young women aged 18-24 years old. 
  • One 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 percent vs 46 percent), to have been offered a zero hours contract (39 percent vs 32 percent), and to have been offered less than the minimum wage (20 percent vs 16 percent).
  • One in four young women fear being fired for reporting sexual harassment.

Read the findings in full >> 

To request an interview with Sophie Walker, or for more details about the report, please contact Peter Simpson on peter.simpson@youngwomenstrust.org or on 020 7837 2019 or 07803 051 848.

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