Seventy-one per cent of 11-18 year-olds taking part in the first HeadsUp forum of the new school year, 'How equal is Britain?' thought that inequality was either mostly or partly to blame for the riots in English cities this year.
The 'How equal is Britain?' debate, running from September 26 - October 14, attracted a record number of comments from young people. The forum covered a variety of issues ranging from the role of inequality in the recent riots to equal representation in Parliament and sexism in sport.
Opinion was divided on the reasons for the riots:
"I believe that the people who got involved in the riots had a reason. Maybe it was because the government were not really taking care of them. They have got nothing left, so they have got nothing to lose."
"I don't think there was a message behind the riots because it could have started for a reason but most people that were involved with it were doing it for the excitement and money that looting provides."
Those taking part in the forum were asked if inequality played a part in the riots:
* 31% thought inequality was mostly to blame
* 40% thought that inequality was partly to blame
* 16% thought people involved were responsible for their own actions
* 13% were not sure what caused the riots
Equal representation of women in Parliament also attracted a lot of posts, with many agreeing with Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MP, who took part in the debate:
"Over half the population is female, yet we have a situation in which the important decisions about the future of the country are taken by men."
There was some debate as to how this might best be achieved, with some students supportive of fairer gender representation but stopping short of endorsing quotas:
There was also extensive discussion of women in sport. Posters felt that women had fewer sporting opportunities than men, owing to limited TV coverage, stereotypes about specific sports for each gender and poor P.E. lessons at school.
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