The National Council of Young Women Interschool/Intergenerational Seminar took place in Parliament week on November 18th 2014 at Bulwell Academy, Nottingham. NCW President Gwenda Nicholas reports on the event.

“So much has been achieved, so much still needs to be done.”

Students from local schools gathered with teachers, NCW members and guests, to:

  • Consider what’s good and what is not so good about being a girl, worldwide and in the UK
  • Through information and group discussions, gain a greater understanding about the issues, and think about effective responses
  • Show the value of discussion between different generations, and see how we can learn and share thought-provoking ideas together

The lead speaker traced the history of human rights in the UK over the last hundred years.

There have been great improvements, as set out in the “Women’s Rights” leaflet, given to all delegates. Women have the vote, can own property in their own right, have employment rights and a far wider choice of careers than was ever dreamed possible sixty years ago.

The arrival of the contraceptive pill was the most significant aspect in the gradual empowerment of women. They are now more in control of their own bodies, and there is choice – whether or not to have children, and when to have them, being the greatest.

But – work/life balance issues still have to be faced. How to fit in the wish for a worthwhile, satisfying career, with having a positive, fulfilling family life is one issue. There are still failings in human rights. Violence against women, gender inequality, and discrimination based on sexuality – these are still issues that need tackling, even in the UK.

Worldwide, things are much more serious. In 2015, the nations of the world will decide on their development goals for 2015-30. Within them, there must be improvement in education, health and such major areas of life. The supreme aim must be to wipe out extreme poverty; that level of existence that we, in the UK, cannot imagine experiencing. Women’s rights must continue to be addressed.

NCW and especially the National Council of Young Women (NCYW), work “for a world in which it is no disadvantage to be born a girl.”

Comments from the students following the intergenerational discussions included:

“…..a good insight into things I had never thought of before…..”
“It made my feminist views stronger”
“I was glad to be part of it….” “It was a great day.”
“It changed my perspective”
“Talking with others – a fantastic way to boost awareness and confidence”
“Absolutely loved it all…… I feel inspired to speak for women”