Councillor asks pupils their views on how to end gender-based violence

A Trafford councillor went back to the classroom to ask pupils their views about the best ways to end gender-based violence in society.

Cllr Jo Harding joined colleague, Cllr Liz Patel, and the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham to speak to pupils at Stretford High School about the issue and how their generation could help find a solution.

Cllr Harding and Andy Burnham spoke to pupils about their experiences and asked what they could do to help tackle the issue of violence and harassment against women and young girls in their age groups. This came on the back of some of the students sharing some really awful experiences of sexual harassment earlier in the year whilst out in the community.

The visit came during a week of action launched by Trafford Council to campaign for a stop to violence against women and girls. As part of Operation Lioness, which runs in Trafford from November 10 to 17, the Council and the GMCA has organised a number of activities to raise awareness across the borough through its community safety team.

The campaign was launched nationally in 2021 following concerns around the safety of women on nights out across the UK. During the local week of action, the Trafford Council team will be in town centres across Trafford speaking to residents and visitors highlighting the work of the council and local voluntary and community services.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority has launched a hard-htting campaign to tackle sexual harassment and gender-based violence of women and girls by challenging the behaviours of men and boys.

They have released videos asking #IsThisOK? which highlight the everyday harassment women and girls experience and calls on men and boys to discuss why these behaviours are not OK.

Cllr Harding, Trafford Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Strategic Partnerships, said: “Operation Lioness was launched to raise awareness about the safety of women and young girls in Trafford and the remainder of Greater Manchester. We came to Stretford High to speak to pupils about their experiences and thoughts on the issue. For example, we asked the boys in the class if they would be willing to step in to stop a friend who was being abusive towards girls.

“It was really interesting to hear what the pupils had to say and I was hugely impressed by the way in which they spoke on the issue. Clearly, it is a big worry and women and young girls in Greater Manchester deserve to be able to walk the streets at any time and feel safe. But a new generation is coming through and boys, like those at Stretford High, are keen to throw away old stereotypes and make changes in treating girls and young women with the respect they deserve. I am hopeful for the future, but we will keep fighting on this issue.”

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester said: “It was so important to listen to the experiences and views of students at Stretford High School. What is clear from conversations like this is that experiences of gender-based violence are far too common for women and girls across our city-region.

“We need to create a culture in Greater Manchester where we know that if a line is crossed, someone will challenge it and explain why certain behaviours are not OK. We can change the story, but it is something for men, lads and boys to take responsibility for pushing forward. And that’s what the #IsThisOK campaign is all about.”


Posted on Monday 14th November 2022