Sunday, 21 February 2010

Teenage girls in crisis?

Gender it seems is making the news again. At last. For far too long we have stopped talking about it in public spaces.

There is a really interesting article in the Observer today (I tried to get the link for this blog, but doing this via phone and it won't work for me) called Are Britain's teenage girls really in crisis? It is well worth reading as I am sure the book Living Dolls: the return of sexism by Natasha Walter will be too. The article concludes with the paragraph;

'The message is that for modern teeange girls the encouragement to do better, look better and have more has become almost unbearable. They need help and they need it urgently - not only for themselves but for the next generation, whose mothers they will be'.

And I agree with much of the sentiment in the article. And we have to be really clear here, the arguments about whether teenage girls are the most vulnerable group in society need to be heard. But for me, what i hear from young people and staff at Brook is that it is gender - growing up as a boy, or a girl and what that means that we have to address. We have to really think about what we are teaching boys and girls, and what boys and girls are learning about themselves, their bodies, their aspirations and about sex. And unless we do so we will miss the point in the development and implementation of youth policy.

That is why Brook's conference this year is on gender - at this conference we will premier a film about gender made by young people who work at Brook and have a real opportunity to spend quality time focusing on how we put gender back central stage in a way that is relevant and meaningful for this century. You can see the trailer for the film on You Tube by searching for Brook Gender 2010 and you can find out more about the conference by visiting

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