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Press release: School set to be new front line of feminism

A new generation of ‘suffragettes’ are to be trained up as part of ‘Generation F’ – a groundbreaking new project from UK Feminista (1) supporting young people to take action for women’s equality. The launch of ‘Generation F: young feminists in action’ (2) on Thursday at Southbank Centre’s (3) WOW – Women of the World festival (4) at the WOW Education Summit (5), will kick off a national two-year programme of workshops and campaigns in schools and colleges empowering young people to reclaim the ‘f word’ and speak out against sexism.

‘Generation F’ has been launched in response to a growing body of evidence exposing the scale of sexism and inequality faced by girls today:

• 1 in 3 teenage girls has experienced sexual violence from a boyfriend (6)
• 1 in 3 young women experiences sexual bullying in school on a daily basis (7)
• 1 in 5 young men worry that porn is influencing their behaviour (8)
• 1 in 3 girls would consider having cosmetic surgery (9)
• Nearly a third (31%) of boys believe female politicians are not as good as male politicians (10)

The project will empower young people to tackle gender inequality through a series of workshops in schools and colleges on feminism and how to run campaigns. It will also support pupils to raise awareness amongst their classmates and pressure their schools to take action to end violence against girls in the classroom.

Kat Banyard, Director of UK Feminista, said:
“Girls today are growing up in a world where many legal rights won by previous generations either haven’t translated into reality or are under attack. Equal pay and freedom from violence remain abstract pledges, while the Government’s austerity agenda is turning the clock back on women’s equality and undermining girls’ ability to realise their potential in life. Today’s generation of girls also face a uniquely toxic culture of beauty ideals and sexual objectification. Generation F will help them fight back and build a future free from sexism. It will offer young people vital opportunities to learn about the relevance of feminism today and equip them with the skills to take forward the struggle for gender equality.”

Tania Shew, a member of the Camden School for Girls Feminist Society (11), said:
“Feminism is particularly important for young women as however hard we work at school the odds are stacked against us being as successful as our male peers in the future. Feminism is important because it recognises the everyday things (like wolf-whistling), whilst striving to change the big things (like the representation of women in politics). This outlook is reflected in some of our recent campaigns such as when we made ‘This is What a Feminist Looks Like’ t-shirts and sold them at school, raising awareness in the local community and funds for the international community.”

 

NOTES TO EDITORS
1) UK Feminista supports women and men to take action for gender equality. Established in 2010, UK Feminista is a leading voice for feminism in the UK.  www.ukfeminista.org.uk

2) ‘Generation F’ will support young people to take action for gender equality through a programme of workshops and resources. The workshops are aimed at students aged 14-18 years old. Schools and colleges can request a workshop by emailing fiona@ukfeminista.org.uk

3) Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, occupying a 21-acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain.

4) WOW – Women of the World (Wednesday 6 – Sunday 10 March 2013) is an annual festival set up by Southbank Centre’s Artistic Director Jude Kelly. Now in its third year, WOW 2013 will celebrate women’s achievements and provide a platform to discuss the challenges women face across the world, and will again take over the Southbank Centre site for five days. http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/women-of-the-world

5) ‘Generation F’ is being launched on 7/3/13 at Southbank Centre’s WOW Education Summit, a day of talks, discussion, performances and workshops for up to 300 school girls and their teachers, as part of Southbank Centre’s WOW – Women of the World festival.

6) http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/sep/01/teenage-sexual-abuse-nspcc-report

7) Womankind Worldwide: http://www.womankind.org.uk/what-we-do/our-impact/legacy/#edproj

8) http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/12918531

9) http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/jan/04/girlguiding-oath-god-queen

10) Moving Forward, Standing Still, Primary Research, The State of the World’s Girls, Plan 2011

11) Tania Shew is a member of the advisory group for Generation F. Tania has blogged about her feminist group’s successful campaign to get their local Tesco store to stop selling ‘lads mags’: http://ukfeminista.org.uk/2013/02/school-feminist-society-takes-on-tesco-and-wins/

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