Millions of women continue to lose out in the workplace

19 September 2018

A major new report from Young Women’s Trust has found that, despite the #MeToo movement and reforms including gender pay gap reporting, millions of women continue to lose out in the workplace – and mental health inequalities have got worse.

A Populus Data Solutions survey of 4,000 young people for the charity shows that nearly a year on from #MeToo, a third of young women do not know how to report sexual harassment at work and a quarter would be reluctant to do so for fear of losing their job. Despite the introduction of gender pay gap reporting, one in five young women say they are illegally paid less than their male colleagues for the same work.

The charity, which supports young women on low or no pay, has released its latest annual survey findings in a report, ‘It’s (still) a rich man’s world’, 100 years on from the first women getting the vote but finds that women still face inequality in all aspects of work.

Young women remain more likely to be on low pay, job insecurity has increased, and debt levels have risen. More than a quarter say their financial situation has got worse in the past year. As a result, young women’s mental health concerns are skyrocketing, with four in ten saying they are worried about their mental health. 

Some examples of the key findings for England and Wales include:

Sexual harassment is still not being dealt with

15 per cent of young women (some 800,000 young women), have been sexually harassed at work and not reported it – double the number of women who have experienced it and reported it (eight per cent).

Employers are ignoring gender pay gaps

One in five young women (19 per cent, or more than a million) say they are illegally paid less than their male colleagues for the same or similar work, rising to one in four (25 per cent) for those aged 25-30.

Gender discrimination is rife

A third of young women have experienced sex discrimination when working or looking for work (31 per cent).

Women bear the brunt of low pay, with debt levels increasing

Four in ten young women (40 per cent) say it is a “real struggle” to make their cash last to the end of the month, compared to 29 per cent of young men. This rises to 58 per cent of women aged 25 to 30.

Mental health concerns are skyrocketing

Half of young women say that their work has had a negative impact on their mental health (52 per cent women, 42 per cent men).

Equality is a long way off but there is still hope of achieving it

Half of young women (51 per cent) think that it is unlikely that gender discrimination in the UK will be a thing of the past by the time they are 40.


For full details of the findings from the survey and to read the full report, see the press release from Young Women’s Trust.