I am sure you will all want to join me in congratulating the Lionesses on their magnificent European Championship victory on 31 July.
The England Women’s squad is now calling on Government to ensure all schoolgirls are given equal access to football training in PE lessons and for it to become part of the national curriculum.
Government guidance published by the Department for Education fails to guarantee that schoolgirls be offered the same football lessons as boys, saying instead that they should be offered ‘comparable activities’.
England goalkeeper Mary Earps said ‘Women can do whatever they want to do, and I think we need to break out of these moulds that people have been putting us in for years’ – a sentiment shared wholeheartedly by Soroptimists!
On the 30 July there were two significant United Nations days – World Day Against Trafficking in Persons and The International Day of Friendship.
This year the theme for UN World Day Against Trafficking in Persons focuses on the role of technology as a tool that can both enable and impede human trafficking.
The internet and digital platforms offer traffickers numerous tools to recruit, exploit and control victims, organise their transport and accommodation, advertise victims and reach out to potential clines, communicate among perpetrators, and hide criminal proceeds – all that with greater speed, cost effectiveness and anonymity.
However, the use of technology also provides the opportunity for awareness raising activities on the safe use of the internet and social media and could help mitigate the risk of people falling victim to trafficking online.
We must be vigilant in the online sphere and report suspicious pages or activities to the authorities, by making use of dedicated and online mechanisms or helplines.
Governments need to ensure that what is illegal and prosecuted offline is also illegal and prosecuted online. They need to expand their attention in the fight against human trafficking to cyberspace, including by providing resources for law enforcement and ensuring policies and regulations are in place.
Technology based companies must ensure measures are in place which prevent the use of technological platforms and tools for trafficking, as well as proactively identify illegal and harmful material online and take immediate and effective steps to remove it.
Celebrated across the globe on 30 July, International Day of Friendship promotes the idea that fostering friendships between peoples, countries, cultures, and individuals can inspire peace and build bridges between those communities. Friendship is about understanding and acceptance, it can help to build and strengthen relationships despite differences in culture, leading to a kinder and more peaceful world.
I hope you all able to enjoy your summer break.