Campaigning charity Make Space for Girls says parks and public spaces don’t work for teenage girls. Most outdoor facilities in the country are primarily used by boys, leaving girls without anywhere to go.
Make Space for Girls advocates that parks and public spaces should be designed with teenage girls in mind.
“Facilities for teenagers almost always mean a skate park or a fenced pitch, which tend to be dominated by boys,” says Make Space for Girls co-founder Susannah Walker. “This discrimination often goes unnoticed – but that’s what we want to change.”
The charity says the discrimination has a negative impact on girls’ physical and mental health. They say it’s unfair, and it makes girls feel like they belong at home. Make Space for Girls work with councils, developers, and public bodies to create places which are accessible for all.
Using the law to make change
The Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED), part of the Equality Act 2010, aims to address this kind of structural inequality by encouraging public bodies to consider potential discrimination in their decision-making.
Imogen Clark is the other co-founder of Make Space for Girls, and she thinks the duty has an important role to play. “Once councils become aware of the discrimination, most want to change things. The PSED provides a great framework to support this. But when we talk to councillors, we get asked a lot of questions about how the duty works for parks and public spaces. So we are delighted to have teamed up with national law firm Weightmans to produce a note to respond to some of these.”
This note answers all the most common questions and explains how the PSED applies to facilities for teenagers and how councils can use it in practice to make parks and public spaces that are more appealing to all teens.
Simon Goacher, Partner at Weightmans who assisted with the project, said:
“At Weightmans, we have worked hard to create an inclusive environment for all our
“We are pleased to have been able to support Make Space for Girls with this advice note for local authorities on PSED, which we hope offers some clarity on how it can be used to develop and deliver accessible and safe facilities for girls within the community.
I would urge any council seeking guidance on the application of PSED to contact the firm, and we can offer specific advice for your circumstances.”
“We’re grateful that Weightmans have partnered with us,” says Clark. “The Public Sector Equality Duty is a great tool, and this note will help councils use it to create better facilities for teenage girls.”
Read the note here.