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Now is the time for schools to be bold for brave girls

Now is the time for schools to be bold for brave girls

Young people want to be the answer to the problems they see around them – and schools have a vital role to play.

The world is changing rapidly around us and young people are spearheading these changes – from youth activists lobbying governments on climate change to a single teenager leading a campaign to end period poverty in British schools.

Young people want to be the answer to the problems they see around them, and what’s more, they want to learn about these problems – and solutions – in school.

That’s why we’ve launched Be Bold for Brave Girls, a brand-new initiative to connect students in the UK with global girls’ rights issues, building empathy for brave girls everywhere and an awareness of the challenges girls and young women face all over the globe, including here in the UK.

Adela in Honduras
In Honduras, Adela walks four hours a day to and from school. She was born missing her lower left leg, so she has to walk using crutches. “I want to be a lawyer, to bring justice for poor people and help my family get out of poverty," she says.

Girls’ rights are global

Schools in the UK are increasingly focusing on teaching and enshrining children’s rights, recognising their importance domestically and internationally.

In Scotland, the Government recently announced a commitment to fully incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into domestic law within the next two years, demonstrating a national commitment to children and young people.

However, few schools take a gendered angle to children’s rights, despite our research showing that girls in the UK don’t feel safe in school, on the streets or online.

Two out of three girls in the UK have been sexually harassed in public, including while wearing school uniform, and the gender gap in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects stubbornly persists, leading to later inequality in the workplace and a gender pay gap that won’t be eradicated until 2235, according to recent research.

These rights issues are reflected on a broader scale internationally, which is why girls’ rights are at the heart of Plan International UK’s mission: addressing girls’ access to education, spearheading girls’ sexual and reproductive health rights, eradicating sexual violence and making cities safer for young women to live in.

Challenges in the global south are as relevant to students studying in the UK: issues such as street harassment and period shame are universal, with no class, ethnic, religious or geographic divide.

Alminesh in Ethiopia
In Ethiopia, Alminesh chairs the Uncut Girls’ Club. The group speak up for girls’ rights and encourage families to change their views on female genital mutilation (FGM). “With effort and hard work, we hope to end these damaging traditions,” she explains.

Will you be Bold for Brave Girls?

When your register to Be Bold for Brave Girls, you’ll receive ready-made teaching and learning resources to support your students to:

  • define and explore gender inequality
  • identify why girls still can’t exercise their rights to the same extent as boys
  • explore the gender norms and stereotypes that limit both girls and boys
  • learn about the context for girls’ rights around the world, hearing first-hand from girls whose lives are limited by their gender.

Lessons build critical thinking, social conscience and self awareness, and encourage application to other areas of the curriculum – including Relationships and Sex Education.

As students learn about girls’ rights, they’re encouraged to develop a social action project, consolidating their learning, encouraging team working and personal development, and building confidence and resilience by stepping outside of their comfort zone to ‘be bold for brave girls’.

From facing a fear to testing their willpower, students try a ‘bucket list bold’ idea, push themselves to ‘go the distance’ or even to boldly put themselves ‘in the spotlight’, all while fundraising for a crucial and often overlooked cause: girls’ rights.

By forgoing the traditional forms of fundraising, schools can embrace a new area of citizenship, while linking to other social action activities – for example the Duke of Edinburgh scheme, the Welsh Baccalaureate, participation in Girl Guiding and many more.

So what are you waiting for? Be Bold for Brave Girls today and kick start a journey to change the lives of your students and girls around the world.

BE BOLD FOR BRAVE GIRLS

Inspire your pupils to boldly go where they’ve never been before

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