October 2, 2018 / 12:47 AM / 6 months ago

Young Britons more likely to stand up for women after #MeToo - survey

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Young British people are more likely to call out inappropriate behavior after the #MeToo movement heightened global awareness of sexual harassment, a survey published on Tuesday found.

More than one in three people in Britain said they were now more likely to challenge inappropriate conduct, such as lewd comments or unwanted advances in a survey by the Fawcett Society, a women’s rights group, and law firm Hogan Lovells.

The figure was even higher among young men and women, with more than half of those aged 18 to 34 saying the campaign had increased their willingness to take on abusers.

“We have had a year of disruptive attitudinal and behavioral change and that was long overdue,” Fawcett Society head Sam Smethers said in a statement on the online survey of more than 2,000 people conducted between August and September.

“Older men have to be part of the change because they often hold positions of power. But their attitudes are lagging behind.  They don’t seem to realize the #MeToo movement is also about them,” added Smethers.

Countless women have shared their experience of harassment since the #MeToo hashtag first went viral in October last year in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Sexual harassment is the most common safety risk that women and girls face in big cities across the globe, according to a separate poll of about 400 global experts on women and children’s issues released on Tuesday.

Almost 80 percent of respondents to the perception poll by charity Plan International said harassment was common in public areas of their cities, ranking it as the top hazard for urban women ahead of rape, theft and robbery.

More than half of those interviewed said it was unsafe for girls to go out on their own at night.

“Sexual harassment is so prominent across all cities (that) it is something girls face every day, it doesn’t matter if it’s Stockholm or Bogota,” Anja Stuckert, head of the charity’s Safer Cities for Girls program, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The Colombian capital ranked worst for sexual harassment out of 22 world cities - from Nairobi to Tokyo - analyzed in the study. South Africa’s Johannesburg followed, while Stockholm and New York were deemed the safest cities.

Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi, Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org

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