On International Women’s Day, survey reveals what women actually want

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Moya Crockett
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The What Women Want 2.0 report is an extensive look at the hopes and dreams of UK women. 

Equal pay, access to education and an end to gender-based violence are just some of the things at the top of women’s wish lists for International Women’s Day 2018.

That’s according to a major new report by the non-partisan survey group What Women Want 2.0, which asked UK women of all backgrounds and identities the question: “What do you want?”

Nearly 9,000 women responded to the survey, sharing their aspirations and ambitions for the future. Pay equality was the issue that arose most frequently, with 42% of women who responded saying they wanted the same pay as their male colleagues and counterparts.

Almost a third of respondents said that they wanted better education opportunities, including greater access to higher equality education and more equality of access.

Some 19% of women wanted to see an end to all gender-based violence and victim-blaming, and to no longer feel scared for their personal safety. Another 19% said they wanted body-shaming in the media and porn industries to stop.

A small but significant proportion of women (14%) mentioned state pension inequality for women born in the Fifties as an issue they want resolved. In 2016, the state pension age for women born on or later than 5 March 1954 was raised by three and a half years – meaning that women born before that date could receive over £20,000 more in state pension than women born afterwards. 

The What Women Want 2.0 survey asked women to share their hopes and dreams for the future 

The results of the survey were revealed at an event in Westminster on Wednesday night, hosted by Baroness Shami Chakrabarti and with a cross-party panel of women including Labour MP Kate Osamor, Conservative MP Helen Grant and Lib Dem deputy leader Jo Swinson.

Charlotte Chorley, director of press and communications at What Women Want 2.0, told that the group is currently debating the next stages of the project. 

“We hope to take what we’ve learned in the survey, and build a toolkit to support others replicate it in their own communities – we hope to see a ‘What Black women want’, ‘What Scottish women want’, ‘What disabled women want’,” she said.

“We really believe that platforming women’s raw, unedited voices in this way can help shape more diverse and inclusive policies, and affect real change. We are committed to supporting others who want to find out what women want. We also want to turn the eight key themes from the report into a pledge for MPs to sign and communities to lobby with.”

The first What Women Want 2.0 survey was conducted in 2016 with support from the Women’s Equality Party. That 2016 survey was itself a rebooted version of the 1996 feminist campaign What Women Want, which asked women around the UK to write down their hopes and dreams on postcards. Those postcards were exclusively shared with, and revealed concerns including the tampon tax, domestic abuse and sexual harassment (plus ça change, right?).

A spokesperson for What Women Want 2.0 said that the modern group’s motivations are the same as those of the original 1996 campaign.

“As in 1996, the idea was for a group of motivated young feminists to record this moment in time, and build a legacy for future generations of feminist activists and historians,” she said. “What Women Wants 2.0 follows in feminist footsteps and we hope that, if what you find here makes you angry or impatient, it also leaves you energised, inspired and, most of all, ready to fight for what you want.”  

For more International Women’s Day 2018 content from click here.

Images: Rex Features