Today marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
How can you take a stand this International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women?
The focus for 2019 is on rape - putting the spotlight on the devastating impact sexual violence has on women and girls’ lives and its pervasiveness globally. In the UK, we know that there are systemic failings to uphold the rights of women and girls who have been raped. Just weeks ago it was revealed that rape cases in the UK are being dropped leading to prosecutions and convictions being at there lowest levels in more than a decade.
We also know that Government cuts to sexual violence services, particularly services for Black and minoritized women, means that many women and girls are not getting the support they need. To date 6000 women and girls are on the Rape Crisis waiting list and we know many more will be unable to access services at all.
Why does this matter for education?
It matters because this has a huge impact on any member of school staff or student who experience sexual violence. Our report on sexism in schools shows that over a third of female students experience sexual harassment at school and almost a quarter experience unwanted touching of a sexual nature.
It matters because globally, violence against women and girls is a major barrier to so many girls accessing and flourishing in education.
It matters because, at a time when survivors of violence can get no justice, education is more important than ever to challenge and prevent violence against women and girls for future generations.
How can you make a difference, and as education professionals, what do we need to campaign for to make a change?
When it comes to education, we need a system that empowers schools to take a whole school approach to gender equality. Schools need to have the funding, the capacity and the access to training in order to teach confidently and sensitively about the continuum of sexual violence. This includes ensuring teachers feel confident to deliver Relationships Education and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) that become statutory from 2020. These subjects are so vital for ensuring children and young people understand core concepts such as consent and what makes a healthy and unhealthy relationship.
With a General Election in just over two weeks there is a real opportunity to put the education of women and girls to the forefront. We need a Government that is going to defend and extend the rights of women and girls and invest in our schools and colleges, recognising education’s transformative potential and ability to promote social justice.
How can you take a stand?
- This International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women we are asking you to vote for a Government that meets these aims.
- We are asking you to vote for a Government that truly commits to investing in our education and empowers our schools and colleges to take action on sexual violence.
How can you get involved?
This 25th November, get involved in our election campaign and make sure that in this election, education is at the forefront of voters’ minds.