Speaking up for the Women's Six Nations, marking International Men's Day, and Anti Bullying Week - Weekly Update 20/11/2020
I was pleased to be able to put a question to the Secretary of State for Wales this week on the issue of women’s sport. On 10 November, the difficult decision was taken to cancel the remaining games of the women’s rugby Six Nations 2020 competition due to the impact of Covid. I appreciate that we live in unprecedented times and that everyone is having to make allowances for things which can and cannot happen. However, we must ensure that women’s sport is given the same priority as men’s sport. Women’s sports organisations and sportswomen have worked so hard to gain recognition for their sport and have battled prejudice and discrimination. It is so important for women’s health and fitness that we encourage the view that women’s sport is just as valuable and enjoyable as men’s and I hope to see the Secretary of State for Wales stand up for Welsh women’s sport.
I was in the Welsh Affairs Committee this week, where we questioned Jeremy Miles MS, the Welsh Government Minister for the EU, about the Welsh Government’s view on the lack of a Welsh-specific approach for products such as Welsh lamb and beef after Brexit. In 2018, Welsh exports to the EU were valued at £17.2 billion and obviously, it is vital for the Welsh economy that tariff-free access continues after Brexit. 35% of Welsh lamb is exported overseas; 95% of that going to the EU. I am deeply concerned that the Tory Westminster Government are failing to take Wales into account in their discussions with the EU and are not looking at the various ways in which Brexit is going to affect different regions of the UK outside London.
This week is Usdaw’s annual Respect for Shopworkers Week which they run as part of their Freedom From Fear campaign, seeking to tackle the rising problem of violence and abuse towards our vital frontline retail workers. It’s appalling that shopworkers have grown to almost expect abuse and the fact that during this crisis instances of abuse have doubled I think is disgusting. I am pleased to support this campaign and would encourage all constituents to sign Usdaw’s petition to call on the UK Government to enact legislation to create a specific offence of abusing, threatening, or assaulting a retail worker with a penalty that shows that we are serious about stopping these disgusting attacks.
It's Anti-Bullying Week this week and as a mother of a teenager and former secondary school teacher, bullying is something that has obviously concerned me at various times. Bullying is too often characterised as something all children go through at school, or something that makes you a stronger person. This is wrong. I have, unfortunately, seen the effects of bullying in school. Bullying can have a long-lasting effect on those who experience and witness it, but by working together, by sharing our experiences, and by educating young people, we can reduce bullying. We all have a part to play – parents, teachers, politicians, celebrities, and young people themselves – we can all speak out against bullying and speak up for those experiencing it.
We marked International Men’s Day this week - a time to remind everyone that men’s health needs to be discussed more and the stigmas removed around having these ‘emotional’ conversations. In 2018, roughly 13 men took their own life every day, making up 3 in 4 of all suicides in the UK. We need to talk more about men’s mental health and make it clear that there is help available for men – it’s not just women who experience poor mental health. Domestic abuse is another area which has traditionally been viewed as affecting only women, but 1 in 3 people who experience domestic abuse are men. Tackling suicide and domestic abuse means also tackling the societal stigma that exists around these issues and being open with friends and family and people who can help about what is happening in our lives.
You can keep up to date with Welsh Government announcements and information on their dedicated coronavirus page. If you have any issues or concerns to raise with me as your local MP, please get in touch by emailing email@example.com or calling 01792 899025. My office is not open, my staff and I are working from home, but my email and phone are still being monitored and responded to. You may experience a slight delay in receiving a response from us as the demand has increased, but we will get back to you as soon as we can.
Keep well and remember – and remember - observe social distancing, wash your hands regularly and keep Wales safe!