Women’s suffrage centenary

Tuesday 6 February 2018

On women’s suffrage centenary, YWT calls for politicians and business leaders to press fast forward on young women’s equality 

YWT100 years on from the first UK women getting the vote, Young Women’s Trust has found that women under 30 – who did not get the vote until ten years later in 1928 – are again being left behind economically, with many resorting to foodbanks, skipping meals to make ends meet and falling into debt. 

A major survey by the charity has estimated that five million young people are struggling to make ends meet, with young women consistently more likely than young men to face money problems, workplace discrimination and worries about the future. 

The Populus Data Solutions poll of more than 4,000 young people shows that two in five young women (41 per cent) struggle to make their cash last until the end of the month, compared to 28 per cent of young men. Nearly half of young women (48 per cent) and 39 per cent of young men said it would be a big financial problem if they had to replace a large item such as a fridge or a washing machine this year. One in four young women say they are in debt all of the time and one in ten young parents has used a foodbank. 

A third of young women (30 per cent) also report facing gender discrimination when working or looking for work. Meanwhile, a YouGov survey for the charity of HR decision-makers showed that one in eight large employers are aware of workplace sexual harassment that goes unreported.

More than half of young women (52 per cent) say they feel worried for the future. Young people think we are more likely to discover aliens than end gender discrimination any time soon. 37 per cent think that scientists will have discovered life on another planet by the time they are 40, but just 27 per cent think that gender discrimination in the UK will be a thing of the past. 

The statistics reflect the slow progress there has been on women’s equality since the first UK women got the vote 100 years ago. Now, Young Women’s Trust is calling for urgent action to make this the year that politicians and business leaders press fast-forward on women’s equality.

Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said:

 “100 years on from gaining the right to vote, women at work still face huge inequalities. They are more likely than men to be on low pay, in insecure jobs and to face sexual harassment. Discrimination, high childcare costs and gender stereotypes shut many women out of the workplace all together.

 “We’ve already waited too long; at this rate, today’s young women will retire before equality in the workplace becomes a reality. 

 “We need urgent action to improve young women’s prospects and give them hope for the future. This means giving them the right skills and support to find jobs, ensuring decent and flexible jobs are available, making childcare accessible and affordable and changing the law to ensure under-25s are entitled to the same National Living Wage as everyone else. This would benefit businesses and the economy too.

 “Without action, today’s young women face a lifetime of inequality.”

 Young Women’s Trust is calling on politicians and employers to make 2018 a year of action for young women, 

ENDS

Notes to editor: 

  1. Young Women’s Trust supports and represents women aged 16-30 trapped by low or no pay and facing a life of poverty. The charity provides services and runs campaigns to make sure that the talents of young women don't go to waste.
  2. 2018 marks the centenary of women’s suffrage.
  3. Young Women’s Trust commissioned Populus Data Solutions to conduct a survey of young people. A representative sample of 4,010 18-30 year-olds in England and Wales, from the Populus Live Online Panel, were surveyed between 4 and 14 July 2017. The findings show that:
  1.  
    1. 41 per cent said it was a real struggle to make their cash last to the end of the month, compared to 28 per cent of young men;
    2. 48 per cent of young women – nearly half – said it would be a big financial problem if they had to replace a large item such as a fridge or a washing machine this year, compared to 39 per cent of young men;
    3. 30 per cent – or nearly a third – report gender discrimination when working or looking for work, compared to 13 per cent of young men; and
    4. 41 per cent of black and ethnic minority young people have experienced racism when working or looking for work, compared to 4 per cent of white people.
  2. Young Women’s Trust commissioned YouGov to conduct a survey of 800 HR decision-makers between 5 April and 3 May 2017. The survey showed that:
    1. 8 per cent (1/13)  say they are aware of incidents of sexual harassment in their workplace that have gone unreported (1/8 or 12 per cent of large employers and 1/25 or 4 per cent of small and medium employers);
    2. 7 per cent (1/14) employers say there have been formal reports of sexual harassment in their workplace (1/10 or 10 per cent of large employers and 1/50 or 2 per cent of small and medium employers);
    3. 63 per cent of employers say that sexism in the workplace still exists (76 per cent of women and 53 per cent of men); and
    4. 30 per cent of employers say that sexism in their workplace still exists (40 per cent of women, 24 per cent of men and 41 per cent of large employers).
  3. Large organisations are defined as those with 250 employees or more.

For more information or case studies, please contact Joe Levenson on 07495 981142 or joe.levenson@youngwomenstrust.org

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