Why Sex Education?
Written by Milly Evans, sex education campaigner and founder of I Support Sex Education.
A very important topic which I think it would be wrong not to talk about is, why sex education? Is it really that important? Why should you support sex education?
Since late 2016 I have been a member of the Family Planning Association's youth council which my mum suggested I join because we were always talking about sex education and were both frustrated that it wasn't (then) compulsory in the UK and was never good enough where it was. Since then I've become a Stonewall Young Campaigner, set up Our Progress Project and ISupportSexEducation.com.
For me, sex education and sexual and reproductive health are critical to the development of every country and are the route to equality. The skills we learn through sex education are vital to our understanding of ourselves, our relationships with others and how we navigate the world, even outside of a sexual or romantic context. Sex education provides us with the knowledge we need to live our lives - that's why you might see it called 'education for life'. It doesn't matter if or when we have sexual encounters, we will all likely experience issues at some point with our sexual health, friendships or relationships and sexuality, to name but a few.
In a broader context, the major inequalities based on gender, sexuality, race, disability, income and more across the world often have their roots in stereotypes, traditions and a lack of education, something which I believe sex education has a role in solving. Sex education can be used as a preventative tool to protect people at risk of violence, mistreatment or inequality and help those who have already been victims.
Even major world issues such as environmental problems, war and poverty have major links to sex education (or a lack thereof) and provisions for sexual and reproductive health. I'll go into this in further detail in later posts.
Despite the major impact that sex education can have on the lives of people across the world, it isn't explicitly written into any human rights legislation and only became compulsory in England in 2017. The sexual and reproductive rights of people across the world are at risk due to outdated laws and a lack of information for the government and public. Sex education is proven to reduce risk of teenage pregnancy, increase condom usage and reduce transmission of STIs, as well as improving the general well-being of people the world over, promoting peace and reducing sexual or other discriminatory violence.
If you want to see some of our supporters' personal reasons for supporting sex ed, check out the gallery.
Through the blog posts on this website and the links to resources further afield, I hope to convince you and other people who hold influence that sex education and sexual and reproductive rights are important. I want to convince you to take a stand and prevent governments from pushing this to the side. Even though England now has the legislation to make sex education compulsory, we still don't know what exactly the curriculum has in store or how comprehensive it will be. And whilst England is currently having a sex ed makeover, the rest of the UK and much of the rest of the world still cannot guarantee young people's access to fact-based, comprehensive and inclusive sex education.
Like Char says, 'knowledge is the power we need to make a change'. And where better to deliver that knowledge than sex education?
#ISupportSexEducation because I believe that access to sexual and reproductive health knowledge should be a guaranteed human right.