Street Harassment of Women and Girls is "Relentless"
Women and girls are facing “relentless” harassment on the streets which has led to it becoming “normalised” as girls grow up.
MPs making up the Women and Equalities Committee have been looking into this issue and have just published a report on sexual harassment of women and girls in public places. The Committee’s nine-month inquiry heard evidence of widespread problems of men and boys sexually harassing women and even girls on buses and trains, in bars and clubs, in online spaces and at university, in parks and on the street. Street harassment included being shouted at and catcalled through to sexual assaults.
MPs are now calling for Government to take action to tackle this issue. The report outlined a number of key recommendations to tackle street harassment including creating a public campaign to change attitudes and forcing train and bus operators and pub landlords to take action on sexual harassment.
This follows another report from children’s charity Plan International UK which suggested that one in three girls in the UK has been sexually harassed in public when wearing a school uniform. This report found that 66% of girls in the UK had experienced unwanted sexual attention or sexual or physical contact in a public place. The charity reported that many girls feel street harassment is “all part of growing up.”
Plan International is calling on the Government to recognise street harassment as a type of gender-based violence. It also recommended a public awareness campaign and training for workers in public places on spotting harassment and stopping it.
A poll by YouGov also showed that nearly half of female festival goers (43%) under 40 say they have faced unwanted sexual behaviour at a music festival. The most common forms were unwelcome and forceful dancing and verbal sexualised harassment.
In August of this year France introduced a new law against street harassment which allows for on-the-spot fines of €750. The first street sexual harassment fine of €300 was given to a man after slapping a 21-year-old woman’s bottom on a bus near Paris and making lewd remarks about her and her breasts. Street harassment and catcalling are already illegal in some countries including Portugal and Argentina.
You can read a copy of the Women and Equalities Committee report here: