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

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 out of five 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.

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.”
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.
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