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NUS launches national strategy on lad culture

Friday 21 February 2014 Women

NUS is launching a national strategy and committee on lad culture, president Toni Pearce revealed today, speaking at the 'Confronting Lad Culture' summit at London South Bank University. 

The announcement follows the publication of the report 'That's What She Said' last year, and the summit which included a keynote speech from Everyday Sexism founder Laura Bates.

Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, gave a keynote speech at the summit, saying she wanted to share the experiences of the thousands of women students who had written in to the organisation with stories of sexual harrassment.

She said: "The important thing that we need now is a cultural shift and it has to be about attitudes and behaviour…it’s about that normalization. But what that measn is that everyone can be a part of that change. It can’t be about telling victims how to behave or react because vicitim blaming is already a huge part of the problem.

“It’s important to recognise that lad culture and its effects are becoming so widespread that they’re having a real impact across all areas of student life; not just in sports teams or on nights out as is stereotypically assumed."

“This peaks to a very real problem with normalisation, and it means that it will start to have a real impact on students’ academic experiences, then careers.”

Bates also pointed out lad culture wasn't a "men versus women" issue and affected male students as well as women.

NUS national women’s officer Kelley Temple opened the summit; emphasising lad culture damages the lives of both female and male students.

She said: “You have the power to make real change on your campus on this issue. More people are seeing it as their responsibility that we have a campus atmosphere that is good for everyone.

“We know that lad culture is a real issue on campuses. It threatens to disrupt students’ education.”

After a series of workshops where delegates from students' unions discussed ideas of how to understand and deal with lad culture on campuses across Britain, NUS president Toni Pearce closed the summit.

She said: "This doesn’t just have an impact on people’s experiences of their university time, it has an impact on people’s lives and it has an impact on women in a way that it doesn’t have an impact on other students at university.

"As an organisation that represents seven million students across the UK, it's absolutely our respsonibility to stand up and challenge that."

You can read our Storify from the summit here.

You can find more from the day via the Guardian liveblog and the #ladculturesummit.