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Should accent be a protected characteristic?

17th - 24th May 2024

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Total votes


5-11 votes


11-16+ votes

Nine protected characteristics were first introduced in the Equality Act 2010 and they are protected - by law - from discrimination. For this VoteTopic, we asked young people for their thoughts on the possibility of accent becoming the 10th protected characteristic.

Primary 7-11, Secondary, 16+ & College voters were asked: “Should accent be a protected characteristic?”, while Primary 5-7 voters considered: “Do you know how to respect other people’s accents?”

43,163 young people in the UK have taken part in this vote.

5-11 child Accents VT

5-11 Age Voter

"It should be protected because if someone mocks you it makes you feel self-conscious and can have a big impact on your mental health."

11-16 teen Accents VT

11-16 Age Voter

"There are more accents in the media nowadays, these need to be replicated more in politics and by newsreaders to represent the real accents of the UK."

16+ student Accents VT

16+ Age Voter

"Too many protected characteristics will become oppressive. If we make accents a protected characteristic, there will be something else next week. Leave it as it is!"

82% of 7-11-year olds argued that accent should become a protected characteristic.

  • Primary voters aged 5-7 were discussing the question, "Do you know how to respect other people's accents?"
  • 91% voted 'Yes'.
  • Primary pupils aged 7-11 were considering, "Should accent be a protected characteristic?" 82% argued it should be.
54% of Secondary students agreed, voting 'Yes' to the question, "Should accent be a protected characteristic?"

  • Secondary, College and 16+ students were debating, "Should accent be a protected characteristic?"
  • 54% of Secondary students said 'Yes', as did 52% of College and 16+ voters.
Concerns that there could be a lasting impact on wellbeing were given by some students.

  • Some said it should be protected by law because of the damaging effect it can have on a person's wellbeing if they are discriminated against for their accent.
  • Others argued it was only 'banter' and shouldn't be taken so seriously.