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Day of the Girl 2020- My Voice, Our Equal Future

October 9th, 2020

Our VAWG Lead, Jess, talks through how we marked The Day of The Girl 2020.

We count ourselves lucky at Redthread that every day we get to walk alongside incredible young women who bravely choose to share their story with us. Every single young woman that we meet changes the world daily for herself and for those around her (including us) and it is a privilege to be a part of her journey. We often hear that young women should be “given a voice” but this isn’t the case. Young women already have a voice, it is up to us to listen to what they have to say.

We are fortunate to have a team of trauma-informed Young Women’s Workers at three of our London sites (Kings College Hospital, St George’s and St Mary’s). They meet young women and girls however they present to the hospitals, the associated sexual health clinics or the Havens (sexual assault referral centre). We support young women with their immediate health concerns as well as with on-going recovery and work as part of their network moving from an approach of advocacy to one of self-advocacy. Support looks different for every young woman we work with as we take time to get to know them and hear what they have to say before creating support plans with them that work for them and their circumstances. We work with a young woman in a way that ensures that she is always the expert in her own experiences.

This Day of the Girl, we asked the young women that we are working with, two questions:1. What changes do you want to see in the world?

2. How do you think girls and young women can make a difference?

Their responses are inspiring, insightful and above all, full of hope for change. We hope you enjoy reading them and take as much learning from them as we do.

Some of the women we spoke to said they didn’t know- and that’s ok too. We don’t expect or demand that any young women have all the ideas or answers, but we listen when they do.

1. What changes do you want to see in the world?

St George’s Hospital:

“I feel like I want to see a lot more people not disregarding young women and their mental health. I feel like I wanna see them actually just take them seriously and actually take their word and believe them when they say that there’s something going on. And I also wanna see a lot of other young people who have gone through similar stuff in youth work so to be working with the youth cause they can relate more and I feel like it’s just better that way cause people actually take them seriously. It’s not just “oh you’re just talking” it’s actually like you understand. You come from a place where you get it cause you’ve actually gone through it. There’s one thing understanding but there’s one thing actually getting it. Someone can get the whole gang vibe cause they’ve studied in Cambridge or someone can GET IT cause they’ve served time in prison you know?”

“Equality towards all races and genders”

“I want people to be equal no matter what type they are”

“People to stop being rude and inconsiderate to others and just support one another”

St Mary’s Hospital:

“I want to see equality for women”

“The changes I wanna see in the world are that I want girls to stop thinking they need to look like these insta models and I want them to know that there ain’t a correct way to how you should look whether your chubby or skinny that’s still beautiful”

King’s College Hospital:

“The change I want to see is people accepting and tolerating different people’s beliefs, culture and sexualities”

“Equality is the main thing. Men have lots of power over women whether we see it or not”

University Hospital Lewisham:

“Well. The changes to the world part, if I’m talking right now in this moment the fact education is open during this pandemic. So if I’m honest I’ll say close schools. Not because I’m a student and can’t be bothered, just because there have been lives taken and others lives at stake. And it isn’t fair to us and the older generation to be out here.”

2. How do you think girls and young women can make a difference?

St George’s Hospital:

“I feel like just by speaking up, by whenever there’s events like the event [youth worker] told me about. Taking part in something like that. The people who have gone through stuff. Also just doing visits in schools and actually speaking about their experiences. Just speaking up and letting people know and actually having a chance to, like, decide stuff as well. And I also feel like taking a stand. I literally feel by standing up, by doing workshops, by working with people as well. By getting help and then later on working with the people who need that help as well because they can relate”

“By sticking together and working as a team and not being petty towards other women”

St Mary’s Hospital:

“I think girls and young women can make a difference by not conforming to how society tells them to act, because they are not any less of a girl or woman by not acting how society tells them to”

King’s College Hospital:

“In terms of what girls/ young women can do to make a difference, we need to have more females doing jobs that are male orientated, like engineering”

“The thing young women can do is be able to value themselves. All the girls need to push each other and become stronger”

 

University Hospital Lewisham:

“I think that young women and girls should start doing things out of the ordinary to show others and themselves that we can do it anything we want to do and be what we want to be. For example, my sister is in the RAF and everyone was shocked and didn’t believe her and was proud because my family and others didn’t expect her to go and join it but she did”

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