Oxford star tackles sexism in schools

The Sunday Times, 12.07.15, after tackling laddism and sexism in Britain’s universities, a group of male students is now taking its message to private schools.

St Edward’s, a fee-paying school in Oxford, has become the first to put on “good lad” workshops in an attempt to prevent practices such as sexting — where intimate photographs of girls are sent via a mobile phone.

The workshops were led by Oxford student Matt Janney, who plays for the university rugby team and once dated the Harry Potter star Emma Watson.

His former girlfriend, who briefly enrolled at Oxford to study English, is herself a United Nations women goodwill ambassador. Watson once said she had experienced sexism since the age of eight and has called for men and women to fight together for gender equality.

The good lad workshops were developed by Dave Llewellyn, a postgraduate student at Oxford. He started them after noticing how female students were having to put up with being groped and humiliated by drunken young men, often celebrating in college bars or town clubs after matches. “This was a deeply entrenched issue at Oxford,” he said.

The rugby club from Oxford’s Pembroke College sparked outrage two years ago after its social secretary sent out an email inviting players to “pick” a female fresher for a night out and spike her wine with “a substance of your choice”.

Llewellyn said the workshops, which college rugby club players have to attend, were being introduced to schools to try to stop laddish culture developing. St Edward’s was the first pilot.

Tom Shaw, the school’s assistant chaplain, had invited Janney and others to deliver the workshops where teenagers were encouraged to reflect on what it means to be a “good lad”. Shaw said the pupils looked up to the rugby-playing 22-year-old.

“There is a lot of laddish behaviour among teenage boys generally. They are growing up in a culture which continues to perpetuate particular stereotypes of men and women. Most young people across the UK are experiencing issues like sexting so it would be surprising if our pupils were not,” he said.

Janney’s year-long relationship with Watson ended late last year and the undergraduate has been named as Oxford’s most eligible bachelor.