Fawcett supports new push for Sex and Relationships Education

Image Courtesy of Jacky Fleming

Image courtesy of Jacky Flemming. All rights reserved.

Leading women’s rights campaigners have today launched an online petition calling on all party leaders to pledge to make Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) compulsory in all schools.

The campaign, led by the End Violence Against Women Coalition and the Everyday Sexism Project, and supported by the Fawcett Society, is seeking the change as a way of preventing the abuse of women and girls and countering the negative and conflicting messages young people receive about sex, relationships, pornography and consent.

Campaigners are asking David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband and all party leaders to make a concrete pledge before the General Election in May 2015 to make the teaching of sexual consent, healthy and respectful relationships, gender stereotypes and the harms of online pornography compulsory in all schools.

Opinion polls and ongoing campaigning show that compulsory SRE has widespread public support, especially among parents, teachers and young people.  A survey carried out for EVAW by YouGov found that 86% of UK adults believe that sex and relationships education ‘which addresses sexual consent and respectful relationships’ should be compulsory in secondary schools.

Welcoming the launch of the petition, Fawcett Society Deputy Chief Executive Dr Eva Neitzert said:

“The Fawcett Society whole-heartedly supports this call for compulsory Sex and Relationship Education.

“Young people face a post-code lottery when it comes to learning about vital aspects of gender equality with the majority receiving scant or no education.

“Challenging gender stereotypes, tackling abusive and violent behaviour and encouraging open and honest discussion about sex and sexuality is central to achieving parity between women and men”.

Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, said:

“From Blurred Lines to lads’ mags, online porn to Snapchat, the Lad Bible to Page 3, our culture routinely portrays women as  dehumanised and sexualised, and men as sexual aggressors. This normalises misogynistic and even abusive behaviour towards women and girls. We have to make the connection between the conflicting messages this delivers to young people and the fact that 85,000 women are raped in England & Wales every year.”

EVAW Coalition Director Holly Dustin said:

“There is now a chorus of support for compulsory SRE across the political spectrum, across professions and experts, among parents and teachers. We cannot sit back and hope to respond better to the next Rotherham – we need to prevent it in the first place.”

The campaign has already garnered some high profile support, with Mumsnet co-founder Justine Roberts and writer Caitlin Moran welcoming  the petition. The Fawcett Society is delighted to join them in supporting the campaign and urges members to sign the petition. Watch out for a blog on this issue in the coming days on our new Feminist Matters blog.

What you can do:

SIGN the PETITION

 

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