Simon on the Streets, a West-Yorkshire homelessness charity has joined forces with students from the University of Leeds RAG society and Leeds Street Outreach to raise awareness of female rough sleepers ahead of International Women’s Day.
Wednesday 4th March saw charity workers and volunteers joined by the students in Leeds’s city square and alongside Hughie’s Street Kitchen where participants held placards highlighting the hardships faced by women who are homeless. A sofa was also placed in the square, with a woman sleeping on it, to draw attention to the places women will sleep to avoid sleeping on the streets, including sofas, waiting rooms, public transport and toilets.
International Women’s Day is held on 8th March each year and the theme for 2020’s campaign is #EachforEqual. Simon on the Streets advises that there is a misconception that homelessness is a male-orientated problem and the day provides an opportunity to share how women are affected and supported. According to government statistics, 14 per cent of rough sleepers in the UK are women. Studies suggest three in 10 women experience sexual violence while homeless, and nearly one in four female rough sleepers have been sexually assaulted in the past year.