Culture

Teenage Girls In Australia Feel A Greater Pressure To Have Sex Than Girls In Other Countries

Only 60 percent of women felt like they had an equal say in their relationships.

This article discusses sexual assault. 

A new survey by Plan International Australia and Our Watch has found that 62 percent of young women in high school and university feel pressured into having sex with their partners. The survey, called ‘Everyday Sexism’, questioned 600 Australian women about their day-to-day experiences of inequality and of the 70 countries to take part in the study, Australian women felt a greater pressure be sexually active than any other country surveyed.

The statistics are troubling, but for many women they won’t be particularly surprising. Of the respondents — who were aged between 15 to 19 and lived in different cities across Australia — 51 percent agreed that girls are often pressured to take naked photos of themselves and share them. When it came to sexual assault, while participants showed a strong belief in telling someone, less than half agreed that “if a girl is raped, the police will do a good job helping her”.

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The Everyday Sexism report revealed young Australian women’s tendency to absorb victim blaming culture, with a third of respondents saying that “girls should not be out in public places after dark” and 23 percent saying that girls shouldn’t travel alone on public transport. The survey contended that, “many girls and young women are internalising widely-held beliefs that public places are unsafe for them, particularly after dark, and that it is their responsibility to modify their behaviour in response”.

A Look Inside The Rampant Culture Of Sexism And Assault At Australian Universities

The report extended to how sexism is reinforced in the home, workplace and education system from a young age, with over a third of young women believing that their gender would be a barrier to the workplace and that it would be “easier to get my dream job if I were a male”. When asked where they wanted to receive information on healthy relationships and other issues that relate to gender inequality, 44 percent said that the change should come from school and teachers.

It’s worth nothing that only 14 respondents identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and that the survey was heavily skewed towards NSW, but as a picture of the warped expectations of female students compared to male students, it’s definitely illuminating. You can read the entire survey here.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) offers counselling, support or assistance for anyone who has experienced sexual assault or family violence.

Feature image via Meg Watson.