Women can vote but they can’t afford bills, says charity

Friday 14 December 2018

YWT logo100 years ago today, women voted in a UK election for the first time, after gaining the right to vote earlier in the year. The 1918 election saw 8.5 million women able to vote, although it was another 10 years before the rights was extended to women under the age of 30. 

While progress has been made over the last century, Young Women’s Trust, a charity that supports young women on low or no pay, has found that young women are still facing huge inequalities. 

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. Low pay and insecure work mean many young women are falling into debt and resorting to foodbanks. 

Commenting, Young Women’s Trust communications and campaigns director Joe Levenson said: 

“100 years on from first being able to vote, women might have equal political rights but this isn’t translating into the change they need. 

“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. 

“If 2018 is to be a turning point for women’s equality and not just a footnote in history, then it’s clear that we need deeds, not just words. 

“A concerted effort is needed from government and employers to redress gender inequality at work and give young women hope for the future.” 


Notes to editor: 

  1. Young Women’s Trust is a charity supporting women aged 16-30 on low or no pay. The charity provides direct services to help young women into work and runs campaigns.
  2. All figures unless otherwise stated are based on findings from a survey carried out for Young Women’s Trust by Populus Data Solutions. A representative sample of 4,010 18-30 year olds and 1,115 54-72 year olds in England and Wales, with panel services provided by Populus Live, were surveyed between 29 June-16 July 2018. The survey found that:
    1. 15 per cent of young women (some 800,000), have been sexually harassed at work and not reported it – double the number of women who have experienced it and reported it (eight per cent);
    2. one in five young women (19 per cent, or more than a million) say they are illegally paid less than their male colleagues for the same or similar work, rising to one in four (25 per cent) for those aged 25-30;
    3. a third of young women have experienced sex discrimination when working or looking for work (31 per cent);
    4. four in ten young women (40 per cent) say it is a “real struggle” to make their cash last to the end of the month, compared to 29 per cent of young men. This rises to 58 per cent of women aged 25 to 30; and
    5. 27 per cent of young women say their level of debt has got worse in the past year and one in four (23 per cent) say they are in debt “all of the time”.

For more information, regional breakdowns or to speak to a young woman who is affected, please contact Bex Bailey on 07963018281 or bex.bailey@youngwomenstrust.org