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More than half of UK tradesmen think wolf whistling is chauvinistic

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Sarah Graham
WVoN co-editor

A recent survey in the UK has revealed that more than half of tradesmen think wolf whistling is sexist and chauvinistic.

The research found that 75 per cent of tradesmen now believe it is inappropriate to whistle at women who walk past building sites.

Of these, 56 per cent said they would not wolf whistle because it is “chauvinistic and sexist”.

Almost one in five (19 per cent) however said they would avoid whistling only out of fear of being sued for sexual harassment.

Last year two builders in Hertfordshire were suspended after being accused of wolf whistling at a woman, setting a precedent for intolerance of harassment amongst construction industry employers.

The study, conducted by the Direct Line for Business, questioned British tradesmen – including roofers, plasters and construction workers – on their attitudes towards women.

Jazz Gakhal, head of Direct Line for Business, said: “The research reveals changing attitudes to acceptable behaviour in the workplace, with people labelling behaviour other generations might have tolerated as outdated and inappropriate.

“It appears the days of women being wolf whistled at as they pass building or construction sites are dying out. Attitudes regarding acceptable behaviour towards members of the opposite sex continue to evolve and it appears for many the wolf whistle represents a time long past.”

Nevertheless, one quarter of the survey’s respondents said they saw nothing wrong with wolf whistling, so the industry may still have some way to go in eliminating the practice.

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