Only 10% of females would consider getting involved in public life in a formal way
Just 10% of women would consider getting involved in public life in a formal way, Woman’s Hour poll reveals
72% of women said they’d be prepared to take some form of action for a cause they believed in, 100 years after women succeeded in their campaign which gave some women the right to vote. However, less than a third of women have actually done so in the last year.
3% said they would be prepared to go so far as breaking the law.
When asked which woman is most effective in campaigning for women’s rights today, the majority polled failed to give a single name. Prime Minister Theresa May was the most cited followed by Meghan Markle, Malala Yousafzai and Emma Watson.
BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour polled British women about their current attitudes to and involvement in campaigning, activism and public life. The poll was conducted by ComRes for Woman’s Hour as part of their coverage celebrating the centenary of suffrage for some women.
The top three reasons why women would not get involved in public life in a more formal way, such as standing in a local election or as a parliamentary candidate, were that they are "not that type of person" (42%), "not party political" (19%) and the time commitment (10%). Only 4% cited personal abuse or threats, e.g. trolling as the main reason.
Three in four British women would be willing to take some form of action for a cause they believe in (72%) but only one in four have done so in the past year (28%). They are most likely to take part in an online campaign (57%), take part in a public protest or march (38%) or take another form of direct action (28%) and 3% said that they would break the law.
Over half of women surveyed (56%) didn’t name a specific woman who had been most effective in campaigning for women’s rights today, of the 44% who did, 14% of them named Theresa May, followed by Meghan Markle (10%), Malala Yousafzai (9%) and Emma Watson (8%).
Raising media interest on an issue or cause is the most common motivation cited for taking action (63%) and it seems that influencing politicians was much more of a motivational factor for taking action for older women (aged 55+) than for younger women.
When asked what needed to change in order for women to achieve equality, half of women stated society’s attitudes towards women (52%).
Woman’s Hour Editor Karen Dalziel says: “The results of our poll were surprising: firstly that so few women felt inclined to get involved formally in public life, but also women’s reasons for staying away from public roles. This poll helps us understand more about what’s really getting in the way, and I hope it sparks more meaningful and informed discussions about women working or being active in public life.”
Jane Garvey will reveal results on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour at 10am on Tuesday 26 June and they will then be discussed across the week on the programme (Tuesday 26 - Friday 29 June).
The full findings are published on the ComRes website. Please credit BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour when using any of this material.
Notes to Editors
ComRes surveyed 1,083 British women aged 18+ online between 30-31 May 2018. Data was weighted to be representative of GB women by age and region. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
Woman’s Hour broadcasts on BBC Radio 4 at 10am, Monday-Friday and on Saturday’s at 4pm. The daily podcast can be downloaded from the BBC Radio iPlayer app.
The results will be discussed across the week on the programme from Tuesday 26 June:
Tuesday 26 June: Jane Garvey and a panel will discuss the barriers to women getting involved in public life and activism, including how we change perceptions of public roles and challenge women’s thinking about participation.
Wednesday 27 June: Campaigning and activism - how far women will go and why? The programme will feature current activists who will talk about how and why they got involved in campaigning. Thursday 28 June: Activism in Scotland.
Friday 29 June: Is it worth it? What are the personal costs and gains being a campaigner or activist?
June 27, 2018 9:40am by BBC Radio 4