IWD 2022: Sexism is more than bias

International Women’s Day takes place on March 8th every year. It is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Something much needed in these past few years of a global pandemic, increase in poverty and upheaval.

As in previous years, Welsh Government publicly declared its support for women and equality.  And the International Women’s Day website produced a slogan. This year they didn’t let us down. What a corker it was.
#BreakTheBias Continue reading “IWD 2022: Sexism is more than bias”

The importance of sex-based language, data and strategies for transformation

Men At Work trains professionals who work with boys and young men to facilitate constructive dialogues with them about safety, empathy and respect – for themselves, for their male peers and for women and girls.

Our mission is to empower – through knowledge, skills and confidence – a widening range of professionals to help boys and young men achieve their potential as positive assets to their peer-groups, their places of education, their communities and, in time, their own partners and any eventual new families. The goals: fostering violence-free relationships, families and communities and helping to remove obstacles to safe, empathetic and respectful lives – all through constructive, reflective dialogue. Continue reading “The importance of sex-based language, data and strategies for transformation”

Welsh schools caught short on toilet provision

For context, I am a parent of two children at school in South Wales. One in primary school, and one at high school.

About six years ago, several things caught my attention.

One was an increased public awareness of the extent that women and girls are victims of sexual harassment and assault. Movements like ‘Me Too’ and reports in publications like the TES highlighted a culture in which girls seemed to be subjected to sexist/misogynist bullying, ‘unwanted touching’ and sexual assault in schools. It was endemic, and overwhelming. And schools seemed to accept this almost as ‘standard’. Girls of school age I knew seemed almost resigned to it. This appalled me. Continue reading “Welsh schools caught short on toilet provision”

Sexual violence and the abuse of our girls

One thing I have learnt through working in this field for so long is that every act of VAWDASV (violence against women, domestic abuse & sexual violence), however small or seemingly inconsequential is linked. No act is an isolated incident, and in fact they often directly link with each other or are inter-related. Like links in a chain. Building one upon the other until you have a full chain of entrapment around you.

The level of harassment and abuse which girls face on a daily basis, in school and outside of it is staggering. I need to make it clear here that adults, whether parents, caretakers or teachers, really do not understand the scale of the problem. If you think you do. Double it. Treble it. Girls experience abuse, violence and harassment in ways unheard of in the previous generation. Social media and technology mean they are vulnerable and accessible to abusers 24 hrs a day. Continue reading “Sexual violence and the abuse of our girls”

Safeguarding needs strong boundaries

As any parent or teacher knows boundaries are an important part of keeping children safe. They are also an important part of children feeling safe. Children, from toddlers to teens need to know that adults who have their best interests at heart will maintain boundaries for them to ensure their safety, no matter how much they rail against them. As children grow it is equally important that they are involved in setting and keeping their own boundaries so that they are able to keep themselves safe both mentally and physically. This must be done sensitively, making it clear to children that they have an absolute right to their own boundaries whilst being equally clear that if somebody does transgress these boundaries that it is never their fault. The perpetrators of abuse are always at fault, never the victims. Continue reading “Safeguarding needs strong boundaries”