Australian women express surprising view on wolf-whistles in study

Aussie women are far less likely to consider wolf-whistling and even being hit up for sex as unacceptable, a study on attitudes about sexual harassment suggests.

Two Perth universities have polled 1734 women from 12 countries, finding Australians will accept certain behaviours that others feel would cross the line.

Just 26 per cent of the Australians surveyed believed it was inappropriate for a man to ask them for sex at a social event.

But that's an absolute no-no for Egyptians, with 100 per cent objecting, along with Indonesians (99 per cent), Japanese (97 per cent), and Portuguese women (88 per cent).

And only 25 per cent of Australian women thought wolf-whistling was inappropriate, compared to 98 per cent of Egyptian women.

According to new study, Australian women are OK with wolf whistles from men. Source: Getty (stock)

However, Aussie women are less forgiving when it comes to low-level stalking and mysterious gifts arriving in the mail.

The survey showed 64 per cent of Australian women don't appreciate a man showing up at places they're known to visit in the hope of an encounter.

And 74 per cent think it's inappropriate for a man to send them strange parcels.

The Italians were far more liberal there. Just seven per cent didn't like the idea of men popping up as they went about their business and only 23 per cent thought it wasn't right for men to send them things.

And 74 per cent of women didn't think it was inappropriate to proposition sex at a party. Source: Getty (stock)

Lead author Dr Lorraine Sheridan, from the School of Psychology at Curtin University, says the survey reveals varied perceptions of what constitutes inappropriate behaviour by men.

While the respondents, all female psychology undergraduates, agreed on the most overt inappropriate behaviours, such as forced sexual contact and death threats, there was little consensus about less explicit actions.

Co-author Dr Adrian Scott, from Edith Cowan University, says the results suggest culture may take precedence over personal interpretations when it comes to grey-area behaviours that are not obviously harmful or benign.

It also seems Aussie woman are generally happy for men to buy them a drink, with just 12 per cent objecting to that, compared to 71 per cent of Indonesians.

The study involved women from Australia, Armenia, England, Egypt, Finland, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Scotland and Trinidad. It's been published in the journal Aggressive Behaviour.

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