What Women Want

Capturing women’s diverse experiences and perspectives across Greater Manchester

Rosalind Shorrocks and Anna Sanders

This report was conducted in September 2022 by researchers Rosalind Shorrocks and Anna Sanders,
partnering with the University of Manchester, the University of York, and campaigners at
GM4Women2028. This was made a possibility due to the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account funding
in 2022 as a section of their research on women’s attitudes and behaviours. The survey findings highlight the need for women’s personal experiences to be considered when
introducing policies to protect and aid women, and moreover for the urgency of further research
into this area to provide additional data in order to implicate policies representative of all women at
a national level.

Headline Findings

In recognising the barriers women face in their everyday life around Greater Manchester,
the conscious use of quantitative data provides empirical evidence which can be essential when
talking about policy reformation and implications.

The 5 thematic areas in which the data is focused
include: Care, Employment, Transport and Active Travel, Safety, and Participation. Additionally, all
areas are affected by the cost-of-living crisis present in the UK climate, such as childcare costs or
transport, however, its consequences affect some women more than others.

Although there has been a significant change in recent times, worryingly, there are areas of the
everyday life of women in GM, which have ultimately worsened.

Transport & Active Travel

For modes of transport and trip commonality, there are factors which show the usage of public
versus private transport.

Women’s’ common trips varied:
96% of women commonly made trips to visit friends and relatives, in which 68% took their car.
93% additionally made trips for shopping, 68% using their car.
93% commonly went to the doctors.
78% used common trips to go to leisure venues, in which 57% used their car.
69% of women commonly went to work, in which 60% used their car.
27% commonly went to children’s school.

18% regularly went to school, college or university.
16% commonly made trips to childcare providers.

Barriers to walking:
49% said common distances are too far.
28% of women argued that safety concerns were a barrier to walking more, and included poor
lighting, poor quality pavements as key contributing factors.
Although these findings, and additional ones within the report, suggest that journeys that are able to
be made on foot are already doing so.

Lack of cycling usage:
1% of women use a bicycle as a mode of transport when going to work, compared to 16% who walk.
32% of women cite safety concerns as a barrier to cycling, including speed and volume of traffic
(37%), and lack of confidence (27%). This highlights a need for cycling provisions.

30% of women commuting to work make more than one stop, and 51% of those women who have
children under 16.
Trip-chainers are more likely to use public transport (36% versus 16%), and are less likely to walk (7%
versus 17%). This indicates that women taking children to school make common use of
public transport, and the need for its provision and efficiency is absolute.

Satisfaction with public transport:
40% expressing satisfaction with local buses.
32% expressing satisfaction with local trains.
52% expressing satisfaction with trams.
Bus satisfaction is lowest in Stockport (33%), and Oldham (32%), and train satisfaction is also the lowest
in Oldham (16%), and Bury (11%) in which 1/3 of respondents reported no access to the train at all.


44% of women said the cost-of-living crisis

was the most important problem facing the country,
with 38% saying it’s the most important problem facing Greater Manchester.

Barriers to participation:
59% of women are more interested in national politics than Greater Manchester-based politics (55%).
Age: 63% of older women said they were uninterested in politics compared to younger women.
Younger women said they were less interested in GM politics than national level politics, including in
the 18-24 age group, 61% of interested in national politics, versus 50% in GM politics, and 56% in
Borough politics.

Those with children are less likely to be interested in national politics (50%), and more likely to be
interested in local politics (56%). Alternatively, women without children are more likely to be
interested in national-level politics (61%).

45% of women said they had no preference in the placement of politics and community affairs
whether it be online or in person.
19% said they preferred a mix.
6% said they only preferred in-person activities.


72.3% of women felt safest in local culture and leisure venues.
72.2% felt safest in local high streets.
58.9% felt safest in local parks.
53.1% of women felt safe in local night-time economy venues including pubs, restaurants, and clubs.
64.4% of women aged 18-24 felt safest in local culture and leisure venues, and least safe in night-time economy venues at 43.4%.
This highlights a need for attention to making nighttime economy venues safer for young women.
93.2% of women in Trafford felt safe in their local area, compared to the lowest borough which was
Oldham (70.4%).
86% of older women aged over 65, felt safe in their local area.
70% of 18-24-year-olds reported that they felt safe in their area, meaning that as age decreases, so
do perceptions of feeling safe in the local area.

For women who reported feeling safe in their local area, the most common answer to their
the report was that they had had no previous experience of antisocial behavior or crime in their local area (42.1%).
40.4% said their feelings of safety were due to a quiet local area.
38.3% argued it was due to a good community.

However, 65.8% of women argued they left unsafe due to witnessing antisocial behaviour.
63.3% of women who felt unsafe felt this was because their area feels unsafe after dark, with 68% of women voiding walking alone at night, 38% avoiding nighttime exercise and 40.1% taking specific safer walking routes when alone.


When posed the statement: ‘Considering my qualifications experience and skill level, I feel I get paid
participants responded as such:
48.6% of women aged 25-34 disagreed with the statement.
56.4% of ethnic minority women disagreed that they were paid appropriately, compared to 44.5% of
white women.
51.1% of women with children under 12 disagreed that they were paid appropriately, compared to
44% of women with no children under 12.
Highlighting ethnicity as the strongest determinant of whether women feel they are paid
Changes in employment due to the Covid-19 pandemic:
22.5% of employed women worked a greater proportion of their hours from home.
10.8% of women work more hours overall following the pandemic and noticed changing work patterns (9.5%).


72% of women with children under 12 used child(ren)’s grandparents for childcare arrangements.
43% used other relatives.
36% used after school clubs, and 33% used private nurseries.
33% used friends or neighbours.
27% of women in GM care for children they live with, and 17% of women care for children they
don’t live with.
25% of women over 65 spend 0-19 hours per week providing unpaid care for children they don’t live
with. Such results reflect the previous finding about women relying on the extended family for
The type of childcare used by women varies according to children’s age:
Women with children under 5:
(82% versus 63%) More likely than those with children 5-12 to be relying upon child(ren)’s grandparents for care.
(51% versus 4%) More likely to be utilising state nurseries.
(19% versus 6%) More likely to use childminders.
(32% versus 41%) Less likely to use after-school clubs.
Changes in childcare due to Covid-19:
29% of women with children under 12 experienced changes in their current childcare arrangements
as a result of Covid-19.
13% experienced a reduction in the childcare hours that they used.
10% reported that they experienced difficulty in accessing childcare.
8% of women with children under 12 said that they changed their current childcare in some other
way due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

How it can be improved:
45% of women with children under 12 are most likely to cite reducing the cost of childcare.
20% reported flexibility to vary hours and days of childcare.
35% of women with children under 12 said that they are completely satisfied with their current
childcare arrangements.
31% of women with children between 5-12 would like to see a reduced cost of childcare, with an
increase to 59% among women with children under 5.
28% of women with children under 5 would like to see more flexibility to vary the hours and days of
childcare, compared to 12% of women with children aged 5-12.
21% of women with children under 5 say that they are completely satisfied with their childcare
arrangements, with an increase of 50% of women with children ages 5-12.

Impact of unpaid care on paid working arrangements:
17% of women said they had either reduced their hours or gone part-time due to caring for children
they currently live with, increasing to 36% for women with children under 12.
9% of women said they had avoided taking a job with more responsibility due to caring for
children they currently live with, this rises to 19% for women with children under 12.
7% of women said that they had reduced their hours or gone part-time to care for children they do
not currently live with, which increases to 8%amongst women over 65.

Opportunities for further research

It’s important to recognise the diverse background of all women as inhomogeneous, and although this research is extremely representative of women in Greater Manchester, the only ethnicity categories are white and non-white. This has been recognised by researchers, and therefore we urgently encourage further research into the ethnicity disparities amongst the women population of Greater Manchester. Alternatively, the report was unable to represent the experiences of women and girls under the age of 18, which also presents an opportunity for additional research.

End Note:

This report shows the most up to date quantitative position on female attitudes within Greater
Manchester. Although there has been some progress, it is still in need of amelioration. Through he
data discovered in this report, there is a opportunity to implement effective, reliable and relevant
policies to aid and improve the lives of women in the Greater Manchester area, and beyond.