Responding to the announcement by Education Secretary Kirsty Williams major reforms to ‘Relationships and Sexuality’ education Sian Gwenllian AM, Plaid Cymru spokesperson for equalities and the co-founder of the new Assembly committee for women and equalities said,
“I strongly welcome the announcement today on the overhaul of sex education in Wales’ schools and recognise that this is a progressive step forward. However, I regret that it has taken so long to be announced and will take even longer to be implemented.
During the discussions around the Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Act 2015, Plaid Cymru campaigned to ensure that education on sex and relationships in schools was integrated into the act. It has taken until now for the Government to acknowledge the importance of sex education and in the meantime a generation of children have missed out on important education on sex and relationships.
Carwyn Jones wants his legacy to be a feminist one. His promise to make Wales ‘the safest place for women in Europe’ and to shape the Welsh Government into a ‘feminist government’ comes following a period of increased coverage for gender equality and a gender review across the Welsh Government. These must not be allowed to be empty words. We need a detailed working plan which looks at all aspects of sex and relationships in education and all spheres of public life. The proof is in the delivery - not the promises.
We still need proof that the Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Act 2015 has taken root in society. Sexual harassment is symptomatic of how women are treated as second-class citizens within this society, and we must acknowledge that the continuum of violence and harassment of women relates to broader cultural patterns of gender inequality. A feminist society will be born from recognising and demonstrating a clear action plan on this.
I call for a national conversation on sexual violence and harassment and a clear and detailed operational plan from the Welsh Government in how they will implement education on sex and relationships in our schools.”