Voice of the Employee

A study found “disturbingly high” levels of hostility towards women, explaining why progress on equality is so slow.

The Fawcett Society asked more than 8,000 adults if a woman was to blame if she went out late at night wearing a short skirt, got drunk and was then sexually assaulted.

Almost two out of five men and a third of women said there was total or partial blame.

Fawcett Society chief executive Sam Smethers said: “I can think of no other crime where we are so ready to blame the victim, but here women are being held responsible for the behaviour of their attacker.

“It is quite extraordinary and reveals just how deep seated our readiness to blame women runs within our culture.

“This resonated with the young women we spoke to who told us about the lad culture they experience on a daily basis and the way they have to manage the situation if they are approached in a bar for example.

“Just saying the word ‘no’ can escalate to violence.

“But what these women called for was education not blame. They just want things to change, which is why we must have statutory age appropriate sex and relationships education across all our schools.”

Almost one in five men aged 25-34 and 14% aged 18-24 said they did not want women in their lives to have equality, adding they would be worse off as a result.

Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton said: “Young Women’s Trust research shows that more than half of young women fear for the future and it is easy to see why.

“From the moment they start work, young women are paid less than men and they don’t see much chance of that changing any time soon.

“A quarter of young people surveyed by Young Women’s Trust said that it would take more than 25 years for women’s average earnings to be as high as men’s, or that it would never be achieved.”

A Government Equalities Office spokesman said: “No woman should have to tolerate discrimination or negative behaviour of any sort because of her gender.

“It is a Government priority to protect women and girls from violence.

“We have come a long way already, effectively bringing perpetrators to justice, but will continue to work until the problem is eliminated completely.

“We are also taking steps to engage more men in the conversation around gender equality and address harmful behaviours.”

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