In which country do women experience the most street harassment?

In which country do women experience the most street harassment?
By Emma Beswick
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A new study saw over 6,000 women surveyed in France, Spain, Italy, Germany, the UK and the USA to see where they experienced the most harassment in the street.


A new survey involving women from France, Spain, Italy, Germany, the UK and the USA, looked at where women experience harassment in the street, including wolf whistling, sexist insults and rude gestures.

As many as 6,025 women aged 18 and above — over 1,000 from each country — were asked if they had experienced certain behaviours in the last year and in their lifetimes.   

The study was conducted by Fondation Jean Jaures, a French political foundation with links to the country's Socialist Party, and the Foundation for European Progressive Studies.

An average of 14% of women from the EU countries included in the study said they had been whistled at in the street in the last year. Spain was by far the highest at 23% and Italy the lowest at 10%.

If this figure is broken down into age categories, all countries showed women most likely to expeience this behaviour in the last 12 months were those in the age bracket under 25-years-old. Spain, again, ranked highest for this age category at 65%, followed by Germany (48%), Italy (41%), France (37%), the USA (35%) and finally the UK (30%).

Every country displayed the same relationship between age and how likely the woman was to report she had been whistled at — the older the participant, the less likely they were to say they had experienced this behaviour.

In the age bracket 65 and above, the UK was the only country where no women reported they had been whistled at in the last 12 months. In Germany, 8% of those studied aged 65 plus said they had received this attention, followed by Spain (3%), Italy and the USA (2%) and France (1%).

When the women were asked if they had ever been faced with wolf-whistling in their lifetimes, the figures in each country rose significantly.

The report also looked at how many women in each country had experienced "insulting or sexist remarks" in the street and been subject to "gestures that were rude or had sexual connotations".

Women surveyed in Germany reported the former occurring most often to them in the last 12 months (an average of 13% said it had), while women in Italy said they experienced this the least (5%) — the average for the EU countries surveyed was 8%.

Spain saw the most participants say someone had made a rude or sexual gesture to them (8%), while the other countries all scored 6%, except for Italy (5%).

The survey went even further, asking women about stalking, flashing and even rape, among other things.

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