Despite some progress in recent decades, sex-based stereotyping (i.e. ‘gender’) and the range of negative outcomes it feeds into – persist. This comes at tangible costs to women and girls – and to boys and men in different, but related ways. This is not, however, inevitable. We can imagine – and work to realise – a society that is progressively safer, fairer and more human. To do this we must commit to clearly naming the problems, in order to address them. This means spelling out the range of issues manifesting in our schools, colleges, universities, online and in person, in our communities

Whatever your role – teacher, social worker, counsellor, youth worker, law, family support etc – the issues below will be all too familiar, to varying degrees:

  • Sexual Harassment of (mostly) girls and young women in schools, public spaces and online by (mostly) boys, young and adult men
  • Coercive Control (mostly male to female) starting to manifest itself in early adolescent relationships
  • Porn is ubiquitous and consumed by ever-younger children with inadequate societal intervention, protection and challenge
  • Domestic Abuse of all kinds is a daily reality for huge numbers of women, some men and – of course – many children, for whom it may seem like a ‘norm’
  • Image-based abuse of (mostly) girls and young women by (mostly) boys and young men – and, of course, adult men
  • Boys and young men being at risk themselves from aggressive behaviours of other males
  • Boys and young men being at risk of grooming and radicalisation into criminal or extremist behaviours and beliefs (e.g. #gangs #incels #religiousfundamentalism #countylines)
  • Boys and young men having elevated vulnerabilities to some mental and physical illnesses and conditions – often linked to a fear of seeking help, the constraints of gender stereotypes or lack of expressive vocabulary
  • Boys and young men having elevated incidences of risk-taking behaviours, often part of seeking the approval of others or being unable / unwilling to resist negative peer-pressures

The list, sadly, could go on. We look at all of this, in the media, in our schools, our charities, our organisations, our public services and our own families and social networks and think ‘what can we do about it?’