With a new school year about to begin, members of the East Kent branch of the Women’s Equality Party are calling for schools to be pro-active and positive in promoting gender equality. At a recent meeting, members agreed that age-appropriate sex education should take place in all schools and that older children should be taught the need for informed consent in physical relationships. This powerful message emerged following a moving and inspiring talk by a speaker from the Margate-based organisation, Rise Kent - a peer-centred support group for survivors of sexual violence.
Violence against women is often the result of a gendered culture where men are seen as entitled to dominate, mainstream media portrays women as sex objects and the significance of rape and domestic abuse is minimised. These attitudes create an environment in which sexual violence is tolerated, condoned and enabled. Members agreed that we can help change this culture by encouraging children to see each other as equal partners in any relationship and that schools have a strong role to play in bringing these changes about.