Half of women MPs know of sexual harassment in parliament

Wednesday 28 February 2018

Half of women MPs know of sexual harassment in parliament, finds Young Women’s Trust 

YWTOne in four MPs (24 per cent), including half of women MPs (51 per cent), say they have been personally aware of sexual harassment or abuse happening in parliament, according to a ComRes survey for Young Women’s Trust. 

The poll of more than 150 MPs also found that a huge 89 per cent of women and 58 per cent of men say that sexism still exists in parliament (65 per cent in total). 

Young Women’s Trust research last year uncovered high levels of sexism and sexual harassment in workplaces across the country. Three in ten young women said they had experienced sex discrimination when working or looking for work and one in eight large employers were aware of workplace sexual harassment that had gone unreported.

Young Women’s Trust Chief Executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said:

“Sexual harassment is not just happening in parliament but in workplaces across the country. Too many young women are facing sexism and harassment while trying to carry out their jobs.

“It can be particularly hard for women on low pay or in insecure work to report being harassed by senior colleagues or bosses, knowing their job may (wrongly) be on the line. We’ve heard the stories of a huge number of women and now we need concrete action.

“Parliament should set the standard. If our lawmakers can’t get it right, we have a real problem. 

“As well as putting good reporting policies and training in place, employers should also take preventative action. Supporting more women into a male-dominated workplace, for example, can help change the culture. Everyone should be able to feel safe at work.” 

MPs are set to debate sexual harassment in parliament on Wednesday 28 February. 

ENDS 

Notes to editor: 

  1. Young Women’s Trust is a charity that supports and represents women in England and Wales 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. Young Women’s Trust commissioned ComRes to conduct a survey of 157 MPs between 4 and 29 January 2018. Data were weighted to be representative of the House of Commons by party and region. The survey found that:
    1. one in four MPs (24 per cent), including half of women MPs (51 per cent) and 17 per cent of men, say they have been personally aware of sexual harassment or abuse happening in parliament; and
    2. 65 per cent of MPs agree sexism still exists in parliament, including 89 per cent of women and 58 per cent of men.
    3. 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. eight per cent say they are aware of incidents of sexual harassment in their workplace that have gone unreported, including 12 per cent of large employers (one in eight);
      2. seven per cent of employers say there have been formal reports of sexual harassment in their workplace, including ten per cent of large employers (one in ten);
      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).
      5. 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 report, ‘Worrying Times’, based on the survey findings, is available here.

The survey found that three in ten young women (30 per cent) said they had experienced sex discrimination when working or looking for work.

  1. For more information, please contact Joe Levenson at joe.levenson@youngwomenstrust.org or on 0207 600 7451.

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