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New project aimed at empowering girls launches in Wales

New project aimed at empowering girls launches in Wales

Global children’s charity Plan International UK is launching an exciting new programme in South Wales aimed at changing perceptions and attitudes towards girls.

The Champions of Wales programme will work with young people to help them build skills, confidence and an understanding of girls’ rights and gender equality. They will learn how to campaign for the issues affecting them and make positive change in their communities.

The three-year programme, run by five partner organisations, will involve a twelve-week learning programme covering modules including ‘Being Assertive’, ‘Gender-Based Violence’, and ‘Being Safe in the Community’.

Katie Morrison, Director of Communications, Campaigns and UK Programmes at Plan International UK, said: “We’re really excited to be launching this programme in Wales and working with young people to create change.

“Our State of Girls’ Rights in the UK 2016 report revealed that girls don’t feel safe in school, in the street and online, and 52 per cent have experienced sexual harassment in public. Girls struggle with expectations of what they should be or do and they feel unheard. We want to change that.

"This is an exciting moment for Plan International UK as we bring our global expertise on girls’ rights to compliment a wealth of work already being carried out in Wales to help girls realise their rights.

“We want to build on the momentum generated by the #MeToo movement and the Welsh Government’s ambition to create ‘a truly feminist government’. Now is the opportune time for us to act and ensure Wales is a place where girls are heard and feel empowered.”

The Minister for Education in Wales, Kirsty Williams AM, said: “I’m pleased to be able to support the launch of the Champions of Wales prorgramme. A better understanding of girls’ rights is absolutely crucial, both in terms of keeping them safe and allowing them to reach their potential.

“It’s still the case that too often our society tells girls what they can’t do, instead of what they can do. Addressing that will require dedicated action from a number of people and organisations, and I remain committed to promoting the rights and opportunities of young women.”

Sally Holland, Children’s Commissioner for Wales, said:

“Gender inequality and sexism are some of the most common concerns raised with me by young people across Wales.

“Today is an opportunity to highlight these issues and to support and empower girls to realise their rights and to be the best they can be.

“There are important steps we can take to improve gender equality for young people in Wales. They include teaching children from an early age about respect, healthy relationships, and equality, and making sure that we listen to girls and boys about how to give them the right opportunities to develop their talents.

“My office has worked on the Agenda resource with Cardiff University, NSPCC Wales, Welsh Women's Aid and Welsh Government to empower pupils to tackle gender inequality in schools. I have already seen the changes it can make to young people’s confidence and wellbeing.”

A launch event will be held at the Pierhead, in Cardiff Bay, on 12 June 2019 at 12pm – 2.30pm. The Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams, and the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Sally Holland, will speak at the event.