Government is ignoring issue of sexual harassment, says Maria Miller MP

Sexual harassment

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The chair of the Women and Equalities Committee has claimed the government "almost ignores" the issue of sexual harassment.

Maria Miller MP said that the government should be "applauded" for its work to tackle domestic violence, but claimed the issue of sexual harassment remains unaddressed.

"The government does a lot on domestic violence and they should be applauded for that, but their strategy which is really extensive, almost ignores sexual harassment which is the most common form of abuse," Ms Miller told Julia Hartley-Brewer.



"Nobody should have to put up with this behaviour - we're a civilised society. Just in the same way as we've tackled other behaviurs that society thinks is wrong, and I don't think I've found anybody saying that girls at bus stops in their school uniform should be sexualised in this way, or right that women should be groped, that we should do something about it.

"We have record numbers of women in work, we have women outperforming men at every level of education, yet these sorts of behaviours keep women and girls from being equal, because it's undermining their confidence, it's undermining the way they live their lives."


New report 

The Women and Equalities Committee have released a new report today outlining the scale of sexual harassment in the UK after looking into the issue for nine months, as well as putting forward suggestions to make women feel safer, including asking councils to make sure businesses train their staff in how to spot sexual harassment.

The report is calling for more research into the negative impact of watching pornography, and running long-term publicity campaigns to tackle attitudes that underpin sexual harassment.

The Committee heard evidence of men and boys sexually harassing women and girls on buses, trains, in bars and clubs, in online spaces, at university, in parks and on the street before compiling the report.



"What people have done around the country is made some practical recommendations, so when a local council licenses a bar or a club or a taxi firm, that they say actually you need to make sure your staff have had training of sexual harassment to spot it and to deal with it," Ms Miller said.

"One in three women under the age of 24 will experience sexual harassment every month, so this is something which is a routine part of women's lives. 

"I'm not talking about whistling at somebody, I'm talking about graphic and explicit sexual chants at young women in school uniforms at the age of 11, women being groped on public transport, women seeing sexual acts being performed on public transport in front of them, people watching pornography on public transport. These are the sorts of things which are not and we shouldn't allow to be treated as routine."