This survey of UK adults, conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of EQUALS – a coalition of agencies including ActionAid, Amnesty International, the Fawcett Society and Women’s Aid – reveals significant levels of inequality that still exist between men and women in the UK. The survey results are released on the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day.
The survey sought to establish attitudes towards men and women in the public and private arena; determining whether gender stereotypes are still present today in the workplace and the home. It also sought to establish the biggest challenges facing women in Britain today, find out whether women are thought to be treated equally in our society and measure personal experiences of sexist remarks or behaviour.
Results show that gender stereotypes remain a strong force for both men and women in the workplace and in the home. Women are found to be shouldering a good deal of responsibility for managing the home and looking after the family but encouragingly, findings also reveal that a majority of UK adults – both men and women – aspire to greater equality by stating that many household tasks should be shared equally between men and women.
When asked what are the two biggest challenges facing women in Britain today, 'balancing family and work' was cited by almost six in ten people (58%). This was the most frequent answer given by men and women. From a female perspective, the second biggest challenge facing women is thought to be 'the gap in pay between men and women' (cited by 23% of females). From a male perspective, the second biggest challenge facing women is thought to be 'being judged on their appearance rather than what they do' (cited by 22% of males).
Almost half (47%) of women in in the UK do not believe they are treated equally to men with only around a third (34%) believing they are treated equally. On this measure, men and women have almost reversed views. Only around a third (35%) of men do not believe that women are treated equally with just over half (52%) believing women are treated equally.
The survey also measured personal experiences of sexist remarks or sexist behaviour. Sixty per cent of young women (aged 15-30) surveyed have experienced sexist remarks and other forms of sexist behaviour whilst going about their daily lives, including being whistled at, having sexist comments directed at them, being touched inappropriately or being discriminated against because of their gender. The survey revealed that British women experienced this across a variety of places with the most likely being at work, in a pub, bar or club, at school, college or university and in the street. Fewer young men have experienced such comments or behaviour (20%) and their reaction to it is quite different. Whilst these young men are more likely to have felt amused the last time this happened to them, the young women are more likely to have felt angry.
Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,028 adults aged 15+ across the UK. Interviews were conducted face-to-face
over the period 11-17 February 2011. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.