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As a woman and a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, sex education for me was unhelpful to say the least. In fact, the only sex education I experienced in my Methodist school was in GCSE Biology, where we learnt about the science behind the different sexes and nothing more. Interestingly, my male friends in school were taken aside and provided with condoms and a brief explanation, while the other women and I were not.

It has been a while since I was in secondary school and I have learnt that sex education, or RSE, has recently been reformed. In 2017, Education Secretary, Justine Greening announced that she planned on developing a standard form of ‘Relationships and Sex Education’ within schools. This is due to be implemented in September of 2020, with improvements to the information provided by teachers about contraception, same- sex marriage and consent.

However, upon closer inspection of the full report of the proposed changes, I was disappointed to learn that discussions on the LGBTQIA+ community were mainly focused around the family image, and not actual relationships.

Whilst there are improvements in the overall teaching of sex education, with emphasis on safety and healthy relationships, there is a lack of information on pleasure and sexual acts, especially within LGBTQIA+ relationships.

There is also the concern surrounding the parents’ rights to remove their children from RSE up until the age of 16. Children deserve to understand RSE before they reach the age of 16, as usually their experiences and exposure will begin before that age.

While it is a huge improvement to the curriculum, there is still some way to go. There will be difficulties with religious schools, as we have seen with the protests outside of UK schools (although these are rare) alongside parental interference with the teaching. However, we are seeing progress that has been needed for many years.

AUTHOR: guest blogger, Katherine

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Photo credit: Sarah Chi

Women being seen and treated differently is a common issue all around the world. GlobalGirl Media prides itself on empowering and mentoring young women. The first week of the international academy was nothing less than that. The mentors stood by their aim and empowered young women from all around the globe.

The first week of training at the academy was amazing. We learnt from each other and got to hear the perspectives of young women all around the world. We were empowered through out the week through other women's beautiful work and what they stand for: reporters and activists. We discovered more about women in the media, why they chose to report, what they report, where they come from and what reporting means to them.

We managed to discover ourselves and that we have a voice, and a voice that matters. We touched on issues that affect women all around the world; issues like the menstrual cycle, gender based violence, gender inequality, child marriage and many other issues that we all talk about every day. We also discovered just how amazing it is to be a woman and have support from other women. Women are strong when they stand together and support each other. We also got to see and read each other’s blogs. We got tips about blogging.

Personally, I am looking forward to having a blog of my own, which is relatable and producing a short film based on the topics we already touched during the first week. This academy is the type that every young girl needs in order to grow, discover and understand themselves a little more and learn. It is a great privilege to be in an online room with international females.

AUTHOR: guest blogger, Kamo

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Before this week, I knew little about GlobalGirl Media (GGM). I came across GGM on Instagram and saw the post about the international summer academy. As a young journalist, I decided to sign up with the aim of developing my writing and research skills. However, after this week, I have realised that I am going to gain much more.

When I met the group of girls for the first time on Zoom, the geographical diversity was clear. From Afghanistan to South Africa to the UK, the academy truly is international. As we spoke about the issues that women face in each of our countries, my feminist awareness expanded. Although I know that there are gender-based problems across the world, it is easy to be absorbed only by personal problems that you face in your own country. It was inspiring and uplifting to unite with other young women from across the globe and hear their own stories.

In this past week, we have covered several topics, including research and blogging. I particularly enjoyed listening to Bridgit Pickering, who discussed filmmaking. Prior to this week, I had a bit of interest in making documentaries. I have no experience in filmmaking so I have never really considered pursuing a career in it. However, as I listened to Bridgit Bickering talk about filmmaking, I realised that perhaps it was something that I wanted to pursue. We have spoken much about filmmaking and we have watched various trailers, such as ‘For Sama’ by Waad al-Kateab and ‘Motherland’ by Ramona Diaz. It became evident to me that the power of visual journalism can change the world.

I have learnt much from this first week and I look forward to developing further skills. I am also grateful to have met and connected with inspirational young women from all over the world, who are just as passionate as I am for fighting social injustice.

AUTHOR: guest blogger, Isabella

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