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Street Harassment - The Largest International Cross-Cultural Study

ILR and Hollaback! Release Largest Analysis of Street Harassment to Date

Last year, Hollaback! and The ILR School partnered to conduct a large-scale research survey on street harassment that spanned the 42 cities around the world.  The cross-cultural survey asked respondents about the age at first experience of harassment, type of harassment experienced, behavioral changes as a result of harassment, and emotional effects of harassment.

ILR Professor Beth Livingston directed the research and was assisted by Maria Grillo MILR ’15 and Rebecca Paluch M.S./Ph.D. ’18. The Worker Institute’s KC Wagner also played a role in helping convene the partnership with Hollaback! as part of the Equity at Work Initiative.

“Creating a survey to be consistent across multiple countries is a complicated undertaking, but it provides an amazing opportunity to understand street harassment cross-culturally,” said Livingston.

The survey was conducted between October and December 2014. It was translated into English, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Bosnian, Croatian, Hindi, Polish, Nepali, Marathi and German.

There were more than 16,600 respondents, making this survey the largest analysis of street harassment to date. The findings of the survey were alarming. Here are some notable statistics from the survey:

  • 84% of women around the world experienced street harassment for the first time before they were 17 years old
  • 82% of international respondents reported taking a different route home/to their destination
  • 71% of respondents report being followed
  • 82% of transgender women around the world report being harassed because of their gender identity
  • Over 50% of international respondents report being fondled or groped
  • Half of women who are harassed around the world report feeling anxiety after experiencing harassment

“We hear stories of street harassment every day and, even so, this data shocked us,” said Hollaback! Deputy Director Debjani Roy. “We can no longer dismiss street harassment as a ‘little problem,’ this is everyone’s problem,”

Hollaback! shared this message with its members: “We are so thankful to Cornell researchers for partnering with us to conduct the largest cross-cultural study on street harassment ever. New data like this helps us identify street harassment as the global epidemic that it is and strengthens our movement.”

You can see the full data and presentations focused on 22 countries on the Hollaback! website. Infographic below via Hollaback!


Street Harassment - The Largest International Cross-Cultural Study