Feminist SEXuality Education

[Brussels, 10 July 2020] A key priority for the European Women’s Lobby is ending all forms of violence against women. We recognise that this is a systemic issue that affects millions of women and girls across Europe, and serves as a tool of patriarchy which has individual lifelong impact and serves to continue to oppress woman and girls.

As such, EWL seeks to see not only accountability and justice for all victims, and towards perpetrators, but also to prevent the occurrence of such violence in the first place: we are together for a Europe where women and girls live free from all forms of violence. This is why in 2015 we undertook research into members’ views on sexuality education as a tool for violence prevention and ensuring we have the best possible freely-given consensual, desire-driven sexual experiences.

This is the work that has led to our new publication, ‘EWL’s Feminist Sexuality Education: Ensuring safe, uncoerced, egalitarian and mutually pleasurable sex and relationships for the next generation: a synthesis report’.

We recognise that currently the delivery and depth of sexuality education (SE) varies across Europe by country, region and even from school to school and classroom to classroom. For the EWL, it is crucial that every girl and boy across Europe is empowered and protected by comprehensive feminist SE, and all should have equal access to this. This will not only support equal and pleasurable sexual encounters when they occur, but have the wider benefit of more aware and respectful relationships, a politically aware and engaged public and ultimately the opportunity to reduce violence, inequality and discrimination which women and girls risk daily.

This report is intended to set out opportunities for change and development which can assist campaigners, educators and political champions who strive to tackle injustice for a more equal, fair and enjoyable European society.

The most fundamental aspect which needs to be further embedded in SE is to challenge the hierarchical relation between women and men. Unless we recognise and explicitly stress the necessity of feminist relationship and sexuality education, the structural nature of this inequality and its presence in sexuality and relationships; the differential socialisation and conditioning affecting girls and boys; the elevated risks faced by girls; and the societal effect of these issues will be left at the margins of discussion.

This report gives proposals at national and international levels for progressive changes in regulations and curricula to ensure a transformative feminist sexuality education. It establishes key principles which should be considered crucial to underpinning and critical and constructive engagement with young people regarding their relationships, sexuality, sexual interactions and how these matters interplay with their experiences in society and culture.

Download ’EWL’s Feminist Sexuality Education’ report below

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EWL event "Progress towards a Europe free from all forms of male violence" to mark the 10th aniversary of the Istanbul Convention, 12 May 2021.

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