Sophie Wilkinson | Contributing Editor | Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Young Women Don't Like Unemployed People. Apparently.

The Debrief: A report shows that young women are more likely than young men to dislike the unemployed. Are we just bitches, or is there more to it?

If someone told us there was a specific demographic with a strong dislike of unemployed people, we would pluck a whole bunch of stereotypes out of the bag before saying ‘young women’. After all, even if you are a cruel psychopath of a young woman, you might think that unemployed people are great because they might not be competition for you in your job (we’re guessing to hate unemployed people, you have to be employed).

But, alas, today we hear news from The Telegraph of a report from cross-party think tank Demos, showing that, when asked whether British citizens should take more responsibility for providing for themselves, 52% of women aged 18-24 said ‘yes’. This is compared to 44 per cent of men of the same age.

We’d hate to defend the idea that today’s young women are very elbowy, job-grabby and competitive, so what’s behind this result?

Oliver Sidorczuk, policy advisor at Bite the Ballot, a party neutral organisation aimed at getting young people to vote, says it's because 'The values of the Conservative party are widely popular with the young people we work with. Quite simply it's because of the perception the media seem to be selling; the myths around benefit scroungers.'

But we think young girls might be a bit more clued up than that. Maybe it's because we’re part of a generation taught to look up to go-getters like Beyoncé and Sheryl Sandberg? Or because young women feel a little less entitled to their fair share than men so fight a bit more for it, then look down upon those they feel haven’t joined them in that struggle?

READ MORE: Young People, Students Make Up The 'Missing Million' Voters Who Are 'Losing Their Rights'

‘Your guess is as good a guess as any’ Jonathan Birdwell, co-author of the report, Tune In, Turn Out, tells The Debrief: ‘The study was interesting, more generally, women were much less likely to be interested in politics. But other stats around social action like volunteering and setting up campaigns show that women are more likely to do that than men.’

‘It might be that if young women are more likely to do those things, they’re more likely to have more get up and go. This would lend itself a preference towards individual responsibility rather than state assistance.’

The survey also shows that there is still a lot of time for parties to try to win over young women. Though young women might show themselves to be politically involved, with three quarters of them intended to vote, only 30% of them say they have ‘a great deal’ or ‘quite a lot’ of interest in politics, compared to 48% of men of the same age. This probable explains why only 49% of the young women intended to vote know who they’ll be voting for, compared to 64% of men of their age.

We recently brought you news that one million people are not registered to vote, and that Ed Miliband said that these people are students and young people. As quite a lot of you readers are female, young and possibly students, we feel it’s our duty to tell you to register to vote. It’s the sort of thing women were flinging themselves under horses for 100 years ago. gov.uk/reigster-to-vote

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Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

Picture: Lukasz Wierzbowski 

Tags: Work it, Pure Politics, General Election 2015