Gender Equality Taskforce in Education and Learning: response to reports

Initial response to reports published on the Taskforce's behalf by the Collective, the Children’s Parliament and the Scottish Youth Parliament.

The Gender Equality Taskforce in Education and Learning very much welcomes the publication of the suite of reports which The Collective, the Children’s Parliament and the Scottish Youth Parliament have produced on their behalf:

The group is extremely grateful to all three organisations, as well as to the children and young people they worked with to inform the content and proposed way forward.  

The Taskforce was established in response to a recommendation from the First Minister's National Advisory Council on Women and Girls. It draws membership from COSLA, ADES, EIS, Close the Gap, violence against women and girls expert organisations, representatives from the children's and youth sector, and others. The Taskforce commissioned The Collective, the Children’s Parliament and the Scottish Youth Parliament to work together to develop a way forward for achieving its overall ambition: all girls and young women have a gender equal experience of education, from early years, through primary, secondary, and in community learning settings.

Some aspects of gender inequality, such as gender-based violence can be difficult to discuss, particularly for girls and young women. The Taskforce acknowledges that some of the experiences articulated in the reports make for challenging reading.  However, the issues highlighted, and suggestions for solutions, are articulated clearly in these reports, which will help the Taskforce make the most of their opportunity to tackle head on any deep-rooted gender inequality which girls and young women continue to face in education settings.

The Taskforce will explore how the recommendations will be taken forward. They will share their thoughts imminently with key stakeholders - many of whom are already represented on the group – and consider with them how they might take the recommendations forward. Indeed the group has already begun to implement the first of the recommendations, appointing the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, to co-chair the Taskforce with a young person going forward. 

The group acknowledges that this work is complex, and long term.  Creating a robust plan of action to drive the suggested systemic change outlined in the reports necessitates a joined up and cross sector response, underpinned by an intersectional approach (ensuring that multiple intersecting characteristics are taken in to account).  As a result, this work should be seen in the wider context of Education Reform. 

This statement is not the Taskforce’s final position on taking the recommendations forward, but an initial response to the reports and an update on an ongoing process. Even where stakeholders are not directly responsible for specific recommendations, the urgent need to act on the reports' core findings is clear: striving for gender equality in education is everyone's responsibility.

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