A national survey on prejudice as found that 56% of the UK population feel they have experienced prejudice at some stage of their lives.

5.2% of the 1,927 adults interviewed last month said they had suffered prejudice related to their sexuality. Nationally that would mean 1.5 million separate instances of prejudiced behaviour.

For over half of the population that do encounter it, 11% (3.3 million people) experience prejudice on a frequent basis.

76% of this group (26 million people), have experienced prejudice more than once.

The research was commissioned by Chickenshed, a theatre company that runs children’s and youth theatre workshops for 600, education courses for over 100, community outreach projects and 21 satellite ‘Sheds’ across the UK and beyond.

The research found that the role of arts and media was seen as a catalyst for change.

89% thought the arts and media have an important role to play in minimising prejudice.

34% believe they could help break down barriers by championing diversity.

42% of respondents also feel prejudice can be minimised across society by investing in community based initiatives.

A third say they would like to see further support for this type of work.

57% believe that encouraging our children to understand others is the most effective way to break down prejudice (rising to 78% in Northern Ireland).

Jon Batterham, research director at education specialists EdComms, said: “The evaluation we conducted into Chickenshed’s work over the last three years has found that Chickenshed’s youth members are able to recognise and challenge discrimination arising from prejudice.

“Over half of parents surveyed felt that their child’s involvement with Chickenshed had led them to challenge unacceptable and intolerant behaviour by others.

“This, and teen members unique way of working with others, meant they were often felt to stand out from their peers.”

The research for Chickenshed was carried out by Tickbox between 01.10.2007 – 07.10.2007 among a nationally representative sample of 1,927 UK adults aged 16 and over.

More Results

56% of the population – some 30 million people in the UK – feel they have experienced prejudice at some stage of their lives.

11% of this group (3.3 million people) frequently experience prejudice

13% (3.9 million people) have only ever experienced prejudice the once

Yet 76% of this group (12.9 million people) or 43% of the general population (26 million people), have experienced prejudice on more than one occasion

Of those who have experienced prejudice:

36% of responds say it was is linked to their gender

34% to their age

31% to their ethnicity

26% to their body weight

19% to the way they dress

17% to their attractiveness/looks

17% to their class

15% to their economic status

12% to a disability

10% to their religion

9% to their hair colour

5.2% to their sexual orientation

12% other reasons

On gender

Gender prejudice seems to be overwhelmingly directed at women. Over 45% or 7.9 million of those females who have experienced prejudice (17.6 million women in total), believe this was specifically because they are female

In contrast to only 14% or 2.2 million men nationally who attribute the prejudice they encounter to their gender

Between the ages of 25-34 is the time that women are most likely to encounter gender prejudice

The South West accounts for the most instances of sexism by region at 49% (13% above average), compared to only 11% (25% below average) for Northern Ireland

58% of women experiencing prejudice say they have encountered it in the workplace, some 11% higher than men at 47%

On appearance

Women are also the main focus of prejudice on issues of appearance.

Over 60% of females have encountered prejudice on grounds of their weight (31%), attractiveness (19%) and/or hair colour (10%)

For men this figure is nearly halved. Dropping to 34%. Of which 15% of prejudice relates to weight, 13% to attractiveness and 6% to physical appearance

On race/ethnicity

Over 40% of men encountered prejudice due to their race (22%) and/or their ethnicity (18%). Contrasting with 27% of women, of which 14% concerned race and 13% ethnicity

London is the region where race and/or ethnicity prejudice most frequently occurs, accounting for 28% (13% above average) of all instances in contrast to the low of 11% (4% below average) found in the South West

On age

Ageism is the leading form of prejudice experienced for young adults and senior citizens. Over 54% of 16-24 years who have encountered prejudice believe age was the reason, alongside 51% of senior citizens

On situation

The most likely place for people to experience prejudice is within the workplace, accounting for 54% of all instances

While 21% happens within our own communities

Whilst only 3% of those on the receiving end of prejudice encounter it at communal cultural events such as a music concerts, sporting events or arts performances

On perpetrators

The majority of prejudice 63%, is received from people we don’t know, while 38% is from work colleagues and 28% from bosses

In London an average of 72% (9% above average) of all prejudice is received from strangers, contrasting to only 55% in the North East (8% below average)

Tackling prejudice

57% of respondents believe encouraging children to understand others is the most effective way to break down prejudice

34% believed that it could be achieved through community based activity designed to breakdown barriers

With an additional 30% believing it important to become friends with people they otherwise wouldn’t mix with

Ways media and the arts can help to minimise prejudice

55% believe reducing the amount of ‘sensationalist’ reporting would reduce prejudice. With 22% fewer 16-24 year olds (39%) expressing this view compared to of those aged 55 and over (61%)

34% said by championing diversity

33% by championing different cultural events

30% through community based initiatives

30% through outreach work in communities and schools

25% by supporting and promoting grass roots initiatives

How prejudice can be minimised within the local community

42% said through investing in community based initiatives

32% by championing inclusive events

31% by having more visible police/community support officers

29% by using grass root initiatives

29% through community meetings