In some countries as many as 75 percent of female workers are concerned about violence and harassment in the workplace, with women in Malawi and Swaziland expressing the greatest levels of worry (75 per cent and 72 per cent respectively). Even in high-income economies where strong regulation of workplace safety is typical, significant concerns about violence and harassment were recorded in many countries, with the figures ranging from just 3 per cent in of female workers in Singapore to 42 per cent of Finnish female workers.

Globally, the World Risk Poll finds that nearly 11 per cent of female workers have experienced workplace violence and harassment, similar levels to men (12 per cent). However, the poll finds a significant gender gap in some countries with 39 per cent of female workers in Australia experiencing this issue compared to 24 per cent of men. Australia ranks sixth in the world for women experiencing violence and harassment in the workplace.

Fourteen per cent of female workers globally have been seriously injured at work. This rises to 23 per cent where women are working in more dangerous areas such as agriculture and fishing. In East Africa 28 per cent of female workers report serious injury at work, and in South Asia this figure is 27 per cent – reflecting the high proportion of women working in the regions’ large agricultural sectors.

In most regions of the world more women than men named crime and violence amongst their greatest sources of risk when asked about their top of the mind concerns. The biggest gender gap is again seen in Australia and New Zealand where 34 per cent of women name crime and violence as a risk, 18 percentage points above their male counterparts. Women are most concerned about crime and violence in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as Southern Africa, where 61 per cent cited it as a risk.

Being able to quantify risks with basic statistics is essential to assessing situations regarding safety and risk, comparing them to others and measuring progress.

The World Risk Poll shows that globally women have lower levels of basic arithmetic than men, almost certainly due to lower levels of education provision. This puts women at a disadvantage when presented with information about risk and hampers their ability to use that information to take action. As a result of this, those wanting to make people more aware of the risks they face and to empower them to take action to reduce risks, need to consider how accessible their communications are to the people most affected.

Historically women have been disadvantaged financially, educationally, and in the workplace.  This affects their ability to manage risks and withstand the effects of harm. Improving the way in which risk and safety issues are communicated to women and sharing ways in which others have taken action to report harm and reduce risks, will contribute significantly to efforts to win greater equality.

Dr Sarah Cumbers, Director of Evidence and Insight, Lloyd’s Register Foundation

Note to editors:

About the Lloyd’s Register Foundation World Risk Poll

The World Risk Poll is the first global study of the biggest worries and risks faced by the world.

The research gives us the first ever worldwide view of the risks people face, based on interviews with 150,000 people in 142 countries, including places where little or no data exists yet where risks and death levels are often the highest.

Understanding how people think about risk will allow businesses, regulators, governments and academics to develop policies and actions that will save lives, by making people more aware of the risks they face and how to avoid them.

About the Lloyd’s Register Foundation

Lloyd’s Register Foundation is an independent global charity that supports research, innovation, and education to make the world a safer place. Its mission is to use the best evidence and insight, such as the World Risk Poll, to help the global community focus on tackling the world’s most pressing safety and risk challenges.

For further media information please contact:

Chris Genasi

+44 (0)7785 976060


Sam Young

+44 7985 115 453


Video footage available (A-Roll and B-Roll). Please call for access details.