The volume of sexual violence and gender inequality in the news recently has been frightening, all-consuming and, let’s be honest, exhausting.
In fact, three quarters (75%) of women feel most unequal in their own home, according to a poll of more than 2,000 women conducted by BBC Radio 4′s Woman’s Hour.
The unfair division of housework is impacting women’s wellbeing and two in five (41%) say they have had arguments with a partner when seeking equality in the home.
Meanwhile, over two thirds (68%) of women feel they do not have equality in society due to experiences of sexual exploitation and abuse.
Some might say these two things – housework and abuse – are unrelated.
But both are rooted in male entitlement and have been enabled by the status quo for far too long. It doesn’t help when men such a Dominic Raab struggle to understand basic words like “misogyny”. If politicians don’t get it, what hope is there for societal change?
The BBC poll explored how women feel about equality in 2021 and how much progress women believe has been made since the first episode of Woman’s Hour was broadcast 75 years ago.
When asked what was considered the most important area for progress to be made in order to achieve equality, pay and benefits came out on top (33%), followed by experiences of sexual exploitation/abuse (18%) and employment opportunities (17%).
The workplace stood out as an area where progress needs to be made, with almost half (48%) of women saying they have experienced expectations to perform certain roles at work, such as remembering birthdays and organising social events. Meanwhile 39% of women say they have experienced unequal treatment at work.
There has been some progress, though. Half (50%) of women think equality between men and women is better now than it was 10 years ago, and upwards of half say equality is better now than it was 20 years ago (55%), 50 years ago (59%) and 75 years ago (59%).
As Karen Dalziel, editor of Woman’s Hour, said: “This poll suggests that while progress has undoubtedly been made, there is still work to be done.”