Sexual harrassment of young women widespread, finds report

Laura McCardle
Friday, November 29, 2013

Almost three quarters of young women fall victim to sexual harassment in schools and colleges, a new report reveals.

70 per cent of girls and young women aged 13- to 21-years-old reported experiencing unwanted touching, unwanted sexual attention and sexual taunts at school or college.
70 per cent of girls and young women aged 13- to 21-years-old reported experiencing unwanted touching, unwanted sexual attention and sexual taunts at school or college.

According to Equality for girls, published by charity Girlguiding, 70 per cent of girls and young women aged 13- to 21-years-old reported experiencing unwanted touching, unwanted sexual attention and sexual taunts during school and college hours.

The report also shows that three quarters of girls and young women aged between 11- and 21-years-old battle sexism and gender discrimination daily.

Some fear they will also face discrimination in the workplace during their future careers, with 66 per cent of girls and young women stating their belief that there are currently not enough women in leadership positions.

The report also reveals that 87 per cent of girls and young women think that women are judged on their appearance rather than their ability, with 60 per cent of them claiming to have had comments about their appearance directed at them at school and 71 per cent dieting in an attempt to lose weight.

They blamed media scrutiny of female body image for putting pressure on girls at a young age and said there is too much public discussion about women’s weight.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Julie Bentley, Girlguiding chief executive, said: “Girlguiding believes passionately that girls should be allowed to flourish and fulfill their potential to be leaders in all walks of life, but to do this they need to live in an equal society.

“This cannot simply be dismissed as something that girls and young women just have to ‘deal with’ as they grow up – these results should be a wake up call for decision-makers across the board.

“This is an ambitious, resilient and hopeful generation of girls who are capable of achieving so much – we must not let inequality get in their way.”

The report, based on data collected by ChildWise which surveyed 1,288 girls and young women aged seven- to 21-years-old, is Girlguiding’s fifth annual Girls’ Attitudes Survey.

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