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Former Westbury student in the forefront of battle to save lives
10:00am Friday 22nd February 2013 in Latest News
Following the recent issues surrounding women’s rights in India, former Matravers student Charlotte Lawes believes more needs to be done to challenge the patriarchal attitudes of young men towards women.
The 23-year-old is working as the research, monitoring and evaluation manager at a charity in Pune, India, called Equal Community Found-ation (ECF).
Set up in 2009, ECF is a human rights organisation, which aims to empower men in India with the opportunity to end violence and discrimination against women.
There were mass demonstrations for greater protection for women from sexual violence in India towards the end of 2012, after a woman was gang-raped on a bus in New Delhi.
While Miss Lawes said that more people are talking about the issue of violence towards women now, she believes more needs to be done about the causes.
She said: “So many of the photos from the protest are of people holding signs demanding castration and the death penalty, to stop would-be rapists from acting.
“They don’t think about how you can stop men from even thinking about raping or assaulting a woman in the first place.
“Ideally, we would be working in schools, but there can be a lot of opposition if you are seen to be challenging culture or religion.”
The 23-year-old was the first Matravers student to be offered a place at Cambridge University, at Pembroke College, where she read Social and Political Science.
After graduating in 2011, she was offered a position working as project co-ordinator of the University of Cambridge’s Programme for Sustainability Leadership until last year, when she signed up to work for ECF.
Miss Lawes said: “I’ve been writing a report with another colleague about how more boys and young men can be given an opportunity to think about gender issues.
“The findings are forming the basis for a national campaign that I’ll launch on International Women’s Day on March 8 to inspire normal people to take action.”
The charity was recently chosen by the Hyatt hotel group as one of 26 organisations globally to be supported, receiving $5,000 in support of their Action for Equality programme.
The programme will be delivered in low-income communities through partnership with community-based organisations, building their capacity to engage men as catalysts for change.
To sponsor Miss Lawes, or to volunteer, contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org