Unwanted male attention is a big deterrent to women and girls walking and using public transport. Our 2017 survey of 1000 young Victorians found only 15% of females aged 15-20 felt safe walking at night, compared to 54% of males. The results were in line with the Better Life Index where Australia has the greatest gender difference in feeling safe among 35 OECD countries. Only women in Chile, Mexico and Hungary felt less safe walking alone at night. Why?
As this article points out Australian women have much more reason to fear cars than they do strangers. But the fear of being attacked or harassed in public space clearly prevents many women and girls from walking - for health, for transport and for enjoyment.
The teenagers we surveyed identified cat-calling as among behaviours making them feel vulnerable. We believe this aspect of Australian culture should be challenged, so we're pleased to see the Victorian Government take a lead with its latest ad campaign. Streets, parks and transport free of intimidation will result in more people walking (and the more people walking, the safer we all feel!) Share the ad on Facebook or YouTube to prompt discussion about the impact of harassment.