Sometimes there’s so much casualised sexism – at home, at work, in the media, in the street – that you either feel completely overwhelmed by it, or (maybe even worse) just let it wash over you.  That’s why I was thrilled to present Laura Bates with an award recently for the fantastic work she is doing to highlight the sexism that creeps in everywhere.  One way to address the issue would be to have more effective sex & relationship education at school.  In the Lords this week I raised the fact that one-third of British 16-18 year old girls experience unwanted sexual touching at school.

You can click here to read the full debate during Oral Questions, or click here to read Laura’s excellent article in the Huffington Post.   I’m pleased the minister has agreed to meet with me and Laura, so that we can impress on him the urgency required to tackle this issue.  Girls need to be taught that they deserve respect in relationships, and that unwanted and abusive relationships are unacceptable.  Boys need to be encouraged to bring out the best in themselves – this is particularly true in an age of social media and widely available online pornography, which distorts the real value of relationships.  When 80,000 British women are raped every year, we know something’s gone very wrong… and we need to take proactive steps to tackle it.

Asked By Baroness King of Bow

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase sports activities in schools.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash): My Lords, the Government are providing £150 million for each of the academic years 2013-14 and 2014-15 to be distributed to every state-funded school with primary age pupils. This funding will be ring-fenced and must be spent on improving the provision of physical education and sport. Schools using this funding will be reviewed by Ofsted. The funding will complement efforts across Government which will ensure that all children enjoy opportunities to take part in sporting activities. We are also spending up to £166 million on the School Games.

Baroness King of Bow: Is the Minister aware that the Prime Minister has lamented the fact that elite sport is dominated by those with a private education? This happens because private schools have hockey masters, rugby masters, cricket masters, and so on, who can spot and develop talent. Is he further aware that state schools can do that only if they create the infrastructure by pooling resources essentially to do the same thing? Incidentally, that is what the school sports partnerships do. Will the Minister come to Tower Hamlets Youth Sport Foundation to see how the borough's schools are pooling resources so that everyone can continue to keep the Olympic legacy alive and have the chance to do more sport in schools?

(See highlighted question below from Oona King)

Asked By Baroness BenjaminTo ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure cultural diversity and promotion of equality in the media and creative industries.

Asked by Baroness King of Bow

The Minister will be aware that the figures that he has just outlined in areas such as Tower Hamlets represent a 60% cut on the money available to improve social housing in the spending review. However, is he also aware that backloading the social housing budget means that those in the worst housing conditions have to wait the longest for upgrades? Can he clarify whether the Secretary of State will ask the Chancellor to increase the amount of money in the next spending review to make up for that previous shortfall and, if so, will they abandon the backloading of the budget that hurts hardest those in the worst housing? Combined with the bedroom tax, this makes people in social housing feel that they are under a sustained and unjust attack from this Government.

Baroness King of Bow:My Lords-

Lord Avebury: My Lords-

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): My Lords, the noble Baroness, Lady King, has been trying very hard to get in.

Baroness King of Bow: My Lords, I have visited the Great Lakes region on 10 occasions over a decade and I have never ceased to be amazed by the resilience and dignity of the local populations and the barbarity and scale of the atrocities visited on them, such as a nine month-old baby who was raped with a military-issue rifle and who then sustained terrible gunshot wounds. Does the Minister agree that we need to hold Rwanda to account, and that we should also hold the Congolese army to account? Could he press for more military tribunals so that we can play our role in ensuring that innocent victims such as that nine month-old baby girl get the justice they deserve?

Baroness King of Bow: My Lords, the Minister will be aware that increased sugar consumption leads to obesity and, in my view, diabetes. Is he also aware of the many studies, including one from Princeton University, which show that sugar is potentially addictive and activates endorphins in the brain in a way similar to heroin-I could hardly put down my Jaffa Cake long enough to come and ask this question. Does he not agree that it is important to look at research that shows that scientists have made rats sugar-addicted in just one month by feeding them sugared drinks? Will he revisit the nutritional standards for schools, because 62% of British schools currently do not have tough nutritional guidelines that would reduce sugar consumption among British children?

Hansard Link: Diabetes