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Saxmundham pupils to tackle biggest problems facing young women in House of Lords debate

PUBLISHED: 00:01 16 November 2018 | UPDATED: 06:27 16 November 2018

Young women from Saxmundham Free School are heading to the House of Lords today Picture: KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/PA Wire

Young women from Saxmundham Free School are heading to the House of Lords today Picture: KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/PA Wire

Fifteen young women from Saxmundham Free school will be taking part in a debate at the House of Lords this afternoon which will consider some of the biggest barriers facing girls today.

Around 200 young people will be taking part in the debate which will consider the question: Girls Breaking Barriers: How can we ensure that girls and young women are able to achieve their potential in the UK and around the world?

Four barriers faced by young women will be discussed by the group:

•Girls face stereotypes in schools – assumptions about their capabilities and potential.

•Girls do not see themselves reflected in public and political life. Positions of power tend to be held by men.

•Girls face harassment on the streets on a daily basis.

•Girls do not have enough information about their bodies, healthy relationships and sexual health.

Headteacher David Lees said: “At Saxmundham Free School we strive to mould bright young minds to bring positive change to the community.

“I am proud to see 15 female students represent the School at the House of Lords debating barriers girls face in their day-to-day lives. The students’ reflect a positive role model for the whole school community.”

The Saxmundham pupils will be joining schools from across the country including The Sandon School in Chelmsford to take part in the debate which was inspired by the 60th anniversary of the 1958 Life Peerages Act which enabled women to become members of the House of Lords.

Young women from Ghana and Rwanda will also be taking part in the debate, which will be presided over by Lords Deputy Speakers, Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall and Baroness Pitkeathley.

Ahead of the debate Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall, said: “The debate topic, which directly affects the lives of 3.7 billion girls and women around the world, is of great importance and particularly relevant in the context of the #metoo movement.”

Baroness Pitkeathley, added:“We hope that the opportunity to debate in the Houses of Parliament will inspire all the young people participating and encourage them to think about a career in public service.”

The debate will be streamed on Parliament TV and on the House of Lords Facebook channel.

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