sexually harassed on public transport
100% of women polled have been sexually harassed on public transport in Paris Wikimedia Commons

The French government is being asked to tackle sexual harassment on public transport after a poll revealed 100% of women admitted to experiencing sexually motivated abuse while travelling on the Metro in Paris.

The study involving 600 women from Seine-Saint-Denis and Essonne, the outer suburbs of Paris, was carried out by the High Council for Equality between Women and Men (HCEfh).

Half of the women questioned said they had experienced some sort of harassment before they had reached the age of 18, The Local news website reported.

A 26-year-old, who wanted to remain anonymous woman, said she never felt safe travelling on public transport in Paris.

She told The Local: "The men in Paris take a lot of liberties... it's like they don't really care what they say or how it might make someone feel.

"Sometimes I deliberately change train carriages if there are lots of men. I'd rather not put myself in a situation where I'm alone with only men because I know what would happen."

The council defined "gender harassment" as "the imposition of any kind of words of behaviour that are intended to create a situation that is intimidating, humiliating, degrading or offensive". It added that acts were not usually physical, such as wolf-whistling, so not punishable by law.

It has now sent the report's findings to Marisol Touraine, France's health minister, for the government to take immediate action. It is calling for measures, such as harassment education programmes and a complaint hotline number to be printed on transport tickets, to be implemented.