On Thursday, 3rd November, Agenda Alliance held a roundtable discussion as part of our Girls Speak project. Hosted by Anneliese Dodds MP, the reception brought together decision-makers and women with lived experience to discuss how to take forward the recommendations for change set out in the report ahead of its launch next week.
Funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the Girls Speak project focuses on the lives of girls and young women with multiple unmet needs and their experiences of services. Over the course of the project, we have produced two briefing papers – one with a focus on girls and young women’s mental health, and one with a focus on girls at risk of school exclusion. Our final ‘Pushed Out, Left Out’ report explores the interconnecting challenges facing women with multiple unmet needs and the need for gender-specific policy and practice to respond to these.
During the discussion, we were lucky enough to hear from a few of the young women who contributed to the report. They shared their experiences of consistently being let down by services and their reluctance to seek help after being overlooked. Through the hopelessness they felt, they explained that they just wanted to be heard.
We are so grateful to these young women for sharing their experiences and their visions for change. Following the roundtable discussion, we are very pleased with the response to the report and are looking forward to further discussions to explore how the experiences of young women and girls with multiple unmet needs can be accounted for in policy and practice.
Asked about the report, our host Anneliese Dodds MP said,
“I’m really looking forward to the release of the report next week and am grateful to Agenda for inviting me to participate in their roundtable this week. It was a real pleasure to meet the young women involved and to hear their experiences and recommendations for change.
During the course of our discussion we heard that when girls and young women seek support, the problem isn’t necessarily that they can’t find it. Often, the issue is that what’s provided can make things worse. This is something I have come across in my own work as a local MP too and it’s revealing to see this laid out in the report and to hear about it directly from women and young girls themselves.”
The full ‘Girls Speak’ report launches publicly on November 10th.