Today, on International Women’s Day, Young Women’s Trust is calling for politicians to make 2018 the year of action for young women.
The majority of MPs say employers are not doing enough to tackle women’s inequality, as many expect they will not see equality in their lifetime, according to a ComRes survey of MPs commissioned by Young Women’s Trust for International Women’s Day.
The charity’s poll of more than 150 MPs shows that MPs are pessimistic about women’s futures, with 37 per cent saying equality will not be achieved in their lifetime, at the current rate of progress. A huge 58 per cent say employers are not doing enough to tackle gender inequality in the workplace.
Women MPs are the most pessimistic. 73 per cent do not think they will see equality in their lifetime, compared to 26 per cent of men. The latest intakes of MPs (from 2015 onwards) are less hopeful than MPs who arrived in parliament earlier.
Meanwhile, 18-30 year-olds think we are more likely to discover aliens than end gender discrimination any time soon. In a Populus Data Solutions survey of more than 4,000 young people for Young Women’s Trust, 37 per cent said scientists will have discovered life on another planet by the time they are forty but just 27 per cent said that gender discrimination in the UK would be a thing of the past.
The charity’s research shows that young women are still facing workplace discrimination, sexual harassment and unequal pay in huge numbers. They are also more likely to be stuck on low pay or in insecure work, with many struggling to make ends meet and falling into debt.
When asked about women’s ability to progress to the top roles, just a third of young people think there will be an equal number of women business leaders (33 per cent) or MPs (34 per cent) by the time they’re middle-aged. Nearly half (48 per cent), however, think that men and women will take an equal role in caring for children.
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.
Commenting, 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 to press for progress 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.”
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