Young women warn of 'talk but no action' on sexual harassment at work

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​Two years on from #MeToo, one in four (25%) women still fear they’ll be fired for reporting sexual harassment, according to research by the Young Women’s Trust

The research, which surveyed 1,997 women aged 18 to 30, suggests progress in clamping down on sexual harassment at work has been slow.

Almost a third (31%) of young women said there had been 'talk but no action' on sexual assault since the #MeToo movement started in 2017. Sixteen per cent knew of cases of sexual harassment that had been reported but not dealt with seriously, while 5% had to leave their jobs because of sexual harassment, assault or abuse.

Fears are even higher among young women of colour and young women with a disability or long-term health condition, with 30% and 37% respectively fearing they would losing their job if they reported sexual harassment.

Young women do not have enough access to information on how to report sexual harassment, the research suggested, with almost a third (31%) saying they would not be sure who to go to if they were assaulted.

Young Women’s Trust chief executive Sophie Walker said the research is “a call for action” for employers.

"We're marking the #MeToo anniversary with yet another call for action. When will the men who make political decisions, run workplaces and lead businesses decide that respect and equality for women is important?” she said.

“No woman should feel unsafe at work or put up with sexual harassment as something that's part of the day job. We've heard so many testimonies, read so many reports and yet it's still not mandatory to stop this from happening.”

Walker added that the government must work with employers to stamp our harassment: “We’re calling on the government to make it mandatory for all employers to protect their workers and volunteers from harassment and victimisation. Alongside this employers should make it easier to report abuse by customers and clients, as well as colleagues, and put in place unbiased reporting processes that do not penalise victims.”

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