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An “alarmingly high” number of girls and young women feel unsafe outside their home, according to annual research for Girlguiding UK.
The survey of 1,903 13 to 21-year-olds in the UK found nearly two-thirds either felt unsafe, or knew someone who was fearful walking home alone.
More than half had suffered harassment, or knew someone who had, it said. But girls are responding more robustly than before and were also more likely to call themselves feminists, it said.
The research, the tenth over as many years, found more girls claim to understand what feminism means, with almost half saying they are feminists – up from a third in 2013.
One young woman, from the 11 to 16-year-old age group, told researchers a feminist was “a person who strongly believes in gender equality and that everyone no matter their background should be treated equally.”
The catastrophic economic consequences of a hard Brexit for the UK and damage to the rest of the EU understandably dominate the headlines. It must be a concern for everyone, regardless of how they voted in the referendum, that after a two-year wait for a government plan the main customs proposals have already been ruled out and warnings are growing about a damaging no-deal Brexit.
Most obviously, there are around a million Britons who live on the European continent. According to the UN, the UK has the fifth highest expat population in the EU, after Poland, Romania, Germany and Italy. More than 2.3 million EU citizens work in the UK, making a big contribution to the NHS, hospitality sector and agriculture. This has been made possible by the free movement of people within the EU.
Meanwhile, the Office for National Statistics has reported that nine out of the top 10 tourist destinations for Britons in 2016 were EU countries. This ease of travel is backed by established systems and arrangements for flights and healthcare.
Particular beneficiaries have been young people from the UK. More than 200,000 British students have taken part in the Erasmus education scheme since it was established in 1987. Around a third of those students have had direct work experience placements.
Hundreds of thousands others just enjoy the opportunity to travel, whether to the beaches of the Mediterranean, city breaks across the continent, or the Interrail experience.
Unsurprisingly, young people in the UK voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU – around 70-75% by most estimates. What kind of Brexit is being negotiated for young people? Will their job prospects be improved or not? Will it safeguard their educational opportunities? Will it guarantee them the same freedom of travel? Will they have the same quality of health cover?
Already some of the longer-term signs are not promising, especially with the economic shock of a no-deal Brexit. This is also true with education. According to the British Council, language provision already “looks increasingly vulnerable”, and Brexit could diminish the already “limited language capability” in the UK.
The number of pupils taking modern languages such as French and German has declined dramatically, as have the number of foreign language assistants. No wonder the British Council warns that more young people must learn languages if the UK is to remain globally competitive post-Brexit. Read more
Low-earning parents working full-time are still unable to earn enough to provide their family with a basic, no-frills lifestyle, research suggests.
A single parent on the National Living Wage is £74 a week short of the minimum income needed, according to the Child Poverty Action Group.
A couple with two children would be £49 a week short of the income needed, the charity said. But this was better than last year, when couples were £59 a week short.
The National Living Wage is £7.83 an hour for those aged over 25.
A government spokesperson said fewer families were living in absolute poverty: “The employment rate is at a near-record high and the National Living Wage has delivered the highest pay increase for the lowest paid in 20 years, worth £2,000 extra per year for a full-time worker.”
However, the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) said gains from modest increases in wages had been “clawed back” through the freezing of tax credits. Rising prices and changes to various benefit schemes had also “hit family budgets hard”, it said. Read more
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