One common thread that runs through almost all feminist campaigns is the issue of education.  Where do the rapists (and the jurors, and judges, lawyers and police officers) learn the misogynist attitudes that underlie both male violence against women, and the 5% conviction rate for reported rape?  What attitudes and esteem issues underlie the epidemic of eating disorders and self harm among young women, and the seemingly relentless march of sexualisation of young girls and women in our society?  Why do young people who are keen to explore working in non-traditional jobs find it so difficult to fulfil their ambitions?  Why does our society equate masculinity with being 'tough' and 'violent'?  Why are basic human rights such as the right not to be forced into marriage, or mutilated genitally, still not being recognised in some families?

In common with many other campaigners against inequality in society, the members of Bristol Fawcett are convinced that the key to positive change lies in education.  All around us, the legacy of women and girls' historical position as subordinate to men and boys in our society prevails.  Women were only granted the right to vote in living memory, and it is less than 20 years since rape within marriage became illegal in England.  Paternity leave recognising the caring role of new fathers was only introduced in 2003.  Against this backdrop, it has been 'business as usual' for children and young people at home and in school, and compared with changes in policy and legislation, the pace of social change has been glacial.

In October 2010 the End Violence Against Women coalition commissioned a YouGov Poll which found that 71% of 16-18 year olds experience daily or weekly sexual harassment. Furthermore, 1 in 3 girls say they've experienced unwanted sexual touching.  24% of respondents say that they have never been told by teachers that behaviours such as unwanted sexual touching, sharing of sexual pictures or sexual name-calling are unacceptable. 

Professor Liz Kelly, chair of the End Violence Against Women Coalition said: "Schools are failing in their ethical and legal responsibility to challenge all forms of violence against women and girls and provide safe and supportive environments for female students."

Bristol Fawcett want to support Bristol schools to actively challenge gender inequality and violence against women and girls. 

We have collated information on teaching resources for schools and colleges, as well as links to relevant campaigns and other resources - see also the grey menu on the left of this page.

Visit our archive describing our historic campaigning in this area, here.

In November 2012 with the End Violence Against Women Coalition we hosted an event: "A Safe and Equal Bristol" at which we discussed the interim findings from a survey of Bristol schools (read the press release, with links to the interim survey results here).  Photos from the event here.  We were very heartened that the event attracted support from Bristol's politicians and was attended by our MPs and their representatives as well as Mayoral and PCC candidates including our (now incumbent) Mayor and PCC, George Ferguson and Sue Mountstevens.  Political leadership is crucial for helping our schools to make the safety of girls a priority.
  • Download our presentation, with links, here
Speakers at the event included:
  • Holly Dustin from EVAW (See the pages on the EVAW campaign - Schools Safe 4 Girls - for more, including information on how to campaign)
  • Mara'i Larasi from IMKAAN (click here to find out more about IMKAAN)
  • Christine Barter from the University of Bristol (click here to see more about the NSPCC report into partner exploitation and violence in teenage intimate relationships)
  • Young women campaigners from Integrate Bristol who work locally and nationally to address the abusive practice of FGM (click here to find out more about Integrate)
We continue to monitor progress in local schools and to work with partners to strengthen the role of schools in promoting gender equality and stopping violence against women and girls.  We are delighted to be partners in Bristol's innovative project The Bristol Ideal, which sets out standards for all Bristol schools to aspire to, to make a lasting impact on preventing domestic and sexual abuse while supporting pupils and staff who might be victims.