Call to make 2018 a year of action on gender equality

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Young Women’s Trust has found that women and men agree on what is needed to achieve gender equality, as it calls for 2018 – the centenary of women’s suffrage – to be the year of action.

The charity, which supports young women on low or no pay, found that 89 per cent of men and 94 per cent of women said judging women on their ability, not their appearance, was important to achieving gender equality in the UK. This was closely followed by employers and the media needing to do more to treat men and women equally.

The survey of more than 4,000 young people found that women were, however, consistently more likely than men to say each action was important. In particular, they were far more likely than men to think that more women role models in the workplace, getting women into male-dominated industries and closing the gender pay gap were important.

Despite having firm ideas about how to achieve gender equality, young people are not hopeful it will happen soon. More young people think that scientists will have discovered life on another planet by the time they are 40 than think there will be as many women as men MPs or business leaders, or that gender discrimination in the UK will be a thing of the past.

Young Women’s Trust is calling on politicians and employers to make 2018 a year of action on women’s inequality.

Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said, “2017 was the year that women’s voices started to get more of a hearing. 2018 must be the year that people listen and act.

“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.

“Progress is proving slow; at this rate, today’s young women will retire before equality in the workplace becomes a reality. 

“We need urgent action 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.

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