Challenging Stereotypes and Empowering Young People

Commenting on the passing of Motion 10 at the Annual Conference of the National Education Union, Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“Alongside everything we need education to achieve, we need it to give children the confidence to follow their own individual interests. One barrier to this remains the degree to which gender stereotypes deeply affects girls and boys, both in primary and in secondary schools.

“Stereotypes about men and women are still highly prevalent across society. They can lead to real consequences such as gender pay gaps and deeply harmful patterns of violence against women and girls, and they need to be challenged. Many of the challenges facing young people are addressed in our ‘Breaking the Mould’ materials.

“The introduction of statutory Relationships and Sex education (RSE) is a crucial step forward to giving students help to develop positive relationships and a critical approach to what they see online and around them. However, the Government must properly fund RSE so that it is high quality, age appropriate and based on the needs of young people. Teachers must have access to high quality, face-to-face professional development and a range of resources in order to ensure RSE is inclusive, engaging and empowering for children and young people. It also needs to be given appropriate time in the curriculum. 

“We will continue to lobby Government to ensure schools are equipped with the necessary resources and training to build a holistic curriculum which gives all students a breadth of knowledge and skills and supports their personal development as healthy adults.”

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