Statement from Sophie Walker, Leader of the Women’s Equality Party:
29th September 2016
“Today we see fresh evidence of the very real impact of gender inequality. News that 26% of women aged 16-24 experience poor mental health - making young women the most at risk demographic in the UK - is a deeply upsetting reflection of the inequality that hurts women throughout their lives.
Young women are now experiencing mental illness at a rate that is three times higher than that of their male counterparts, whilst suicide rates amongst women are rising. Let us be clear: this is the direct result for young women of growing up in a society that constantly judges their bodies and expects them to navigate rising rates of sexual harassment, sexting and revenge porn without adequate education or support either for them or for their male peers.
Earlier this week we learned that only 1 of the 57 mental health trusts across England has a gender-specific strategy in place.Today’s report should make abundantly clear the importance of specialist services for women facing this mental health crisis. It is unacceptable that women seeking recovery are unable to access gender-specific services in a space in which they feel safe. We must move beyond empty words and deliver the action that’s needed to save lives.”
The Women’s Equality Party is calling for compulsory sex and relationships education (SRE) in every school, and sustainable funding for specialist services supporting survivors of violence and abuse:
WE will make sex and relationships education – including on consent – a compulsory part of the school curriculum for all state-funded primary and secondary schools, and ensure it is taught by specialist teachers and providers
WE will ensure that all women and girls who experience sexual, domestic or other violence have access to specialist advocacy and support services
WE will make gender an criterion of Ofsted inspections in schools to make sure existing gendered role modelling, that limits all our young people, is made a thing of the past
WE will help move more girls into STEM careers, and more boys into caring work, and WE will end the gap in pay between men and women
WE will end sexist stereotyping in the media, so that girls and boys feel free to live as whoever they want to be without fear of ridicule.
The Women’s Equality Party currently has 65,000 members and registered supporters. It will hold its first Party Conference on 25-27 November in Manchester.
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