4 in 5 Canadians believe next generation of women are just as likely to experience sexual assault

Canadian Women's Foundation study reveals young women fear losing progress already made on gender equality

TORONTO, May 3, 2017 /CNW/ - Despite an increasing awareness about sexual harassment and domestic violence in Canada, a new study from the Canadian Women's Foundation reveals Canadians feel the outlook is bleak for the next generation of women (Gen Z or those born after 1999). Timed with the launch of the Canadian Women Foundation's annual May-long Campaign to End Violence, the survey indicates that four-fifths of Canadians (79 per cent) believe that Gen Z women are just as or more likely to experience sexual assault.

This negative view about the future is also true for other forms of violence, including online harassment (87 per cent), physical violence from a partner (81 per cent), and sexual harassment in public (70 per cent) and in the workplace (64 per cent). A further 79 per cent of Canadians believe Gen Z women will be just as likely or even more likely to feel unsafe because of their gender.

"This should be a wake-up call for all Canadians," says Paulette Senior, President and CEO of the Canadian Women's Foundation. "Young women are telling us loud and clear they're worried about the future of gender equality in Canada. We've made significant progress to date and we can't afford to lose these gains, or have our progress stall. Gender equality benefits everyone, and we all have a responsibility to make it a priority. This work isn't just for ourselves. It's for the next generation and for all Canadians."

According to the survey, women (89 per cent) are more likely than men (69 per cent) to believe Gen Z women will experience sexual assault. This is especially true among millennial women (ages 18-34), with 93 per cent believing Gen Z women are just as, if not more, likely to experience it.

Fear of losing progress made towards gender equality

According to the survey, one-third (36 per cent) of Canadians believe we are at risk of losing progress already made on gender equality due to today's social and political climate. Forty-two per cent of women agree with this sentiment, compared to 28 per cent of men. Young women are particularly concerned, with 49 per cent believing we are at risk of losing progress already made.  

What's even more concerning is that half of Canadians (49 per cent) fear that we will not be able to make new progress on gender equality. Over half (59 per cent) of all women, and seven in ten (69 per cent) millennial women feel that Canada is at risk of failing to advance on gender equality.

"Freedom from violence is a cornerstone of gender equality," says Anuradha Dugal, Director of Violence Prevention Programs at the Canadian Women's Foundation. "But violence against women is still very common in Canada. We need to stop being complacent and recognize that violence against women is unacceptable. We can make a genuine impact by helping those in crisis, supporting them to rebuild their lives after violence, and helping young people learn to prevent future violence. This is the best way to create long-term, systemic change."

A call to Canadians to help end violence against women

The Canadian Women's Foundation's annual Campaign to End Violence, which runs May 1 to 31, raises awareness and funds for over 450 emergency shelters and violence prevention programs across Canada. Funds go to shelters and violence prevention programs that help women rebuild their lives, counsel children who have witnessed abuse, and teach teens about healthy relationships. To learn more about the annual Campaign to End Violence and how you can donate and help, visit www.canadianwomen.org/campaigntoendviolence.


From April 13 to April 17, 2017, the Canadian Women's Foundation partnered with Maru/Matchbox to conduct an online survey. The sample included 1,004 randomly selected Canadians aged 18 and over from Matchbox's Canadian panel, the Angus Reid Forum. The margin of error – which measures sampling variability – is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to Census data by education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About the Canadian Women's Foundation

The Canadian Women's Foundation is Canada's public foundation for women and girls. We empower women and girls in Canada to move out of violence, out of poverty, and into confidence and leadership. Since 1991, we've raised money and invested in over 1,400 community programs across Canada, and are now one of the ten largest women's foundations in the world.

We take a positive approach to address root causes of the most critical issues facing women and girls. We study and share the best ways to create long-term change and bring community organizations together for training and to learn from each other. We carefully select and fund the programs with the strongest outcomes and regularly evaluate their work. We have a special focus on building a community of women helping other women. Helping women creates safer families and communities, and a more prosperous society for all of us. We invest in the strength of women and the dreams of girls.

For more information, please visit www.canadianwomen.org. Stay in touch with the Canadian Women's Foundation by following us on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, by joining our E-newsletter, and by reading our Blog.

About Maru/Matchbox and the Angus Reid Forum

Maru/Matchbox, a customer intelligence professional services firm with a vision to grow our clients' business through a unique combination of expertise in Insight Community platforms and sector-specific research consulting.

Formerly the Research & Consulting division of Vision Critical, Maru/Matchbox consultants have a deep heritage in both strategic insights consulting and disruptive insights technology. As a Vision Critical value-added partner, Maru/Matchbox brings a unique level of expertise in delivering Insight Communities, community management, and advanced research consulting services to its global client base. As part of MARU Group, Maru/Matchbox will expand its capabilities, methodologies and global reach through access to an advanced insight technology ecosystem.

Sector-specific consultants tailor community-based solutions to the unique needs of the industries they serve. We leverage technology to simplify the process of collecting actionable insights, leaving more time to focus on the implications and the distribution of intelligence that drives successful business strategy for our clients.

The Angus Reid Forum is Canada's leading online market research panel, giving Canadians the opportunity to voice their opinions on a variety of topics and issues. We partner with reputable organizations including household brands, government bodies, not-for-profit organizations, and the media in order to help them better understand their customers and stakeholders, and to ensure they take the views of ordinary Canadians into account.

Editor's Note: When referring to the Canadian Women's Foundation, please use the full name. Please do not abbreviate or use acronyms.

SOURCE Canadian Women's Foundation

For further information: For more information including interviews with Canadian Women's Foundation representatives: Andrea Cheung, Edelman, Andrea.Cheung@edelman.com, 416-849-2364; Stacey Rodas, Manager of PR and Online Engagement, Canadian Women's Foundation, media@canadianwomen.org, 416-365-1444 ext. 240


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