‘Step it up for gender equality’ say campaigners on International Women’s Day

Building on the momentum of the reforms adopted by the world football governing body FIFA to address gender imbalance and under-resourcing of women’s football, across the world events aligned with the United Nations (UN) International Women's Day will further to promote the role of women in the sporting world.

In 2016 the UN observance day is reflecting on how to accelerate the 2030 Agenda on existing commitments on gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s rights. Under the theme ‘Planet 50-50 by 2030: step it up for gender equality’ campaigners are calling on governments to close the gender gap and promote a world in which women and girls have equal opportunities.

In a year in which the topic is also at centre of women’s football and the sporting world, FIFA host the Women’s Football and Leadership Conference to support their new statutory objective to invest in the development of women’s football and promote gender equality in leadership and governance. The event aims to expand the support for the sport while providing a platform for debate on advancing women’s roles in sport and society.

In a similar move, the European Club Association is hosting on 8 March the first ever club workshop on women’s football to discuss the present and future of the game.

Football governing bodies drive for change
At confederation and national association level, football governing bodies will further their efforts to drive for change within their organisations, promote gender equality and the growth of women’s football.

In England, the Football Association will host on 8 March a series of Twitter Q&As with women working across the game.

Ahead of the day, Football Federation Australia (FFA) kicked-off a nationwide initiative to boost the number of women playing football, with the aim to have women making up 50% of all athletes playing the game.

The programme will see coaching clinics, referee courses, five-sided tournaments and gala days for female footballers be conducted across the FFA nine state federations.

In Portugal, in a similar attempt to increase the number of female football practitioners, the Portuguese FA (FPF) wrote to all their 18 top tier clubs to consider starting a women’s team. The measure is looking to boost competitiveness as part of the FA's plans to launch a reformed women’s league in 2017.

Building on the success of the inaugural women’s day in 2015, the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) recently announced it will host the second edition of the event on 21 May.

Grassroots festivals, 3x3 or 5x5 tournaments and football skills challenge initiatives are among the programmes member associations can choose from to raise awareness of women's football.

As in CONCACAF, a second Women's Football Day will be held by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), aligned with the 8 March celebrations. This will also mark the start of the 2016 women’s football season in Singapore.

In Scotland, in the run-up to International Women’s Day 2016, the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has taken up the role as ambassador of Scotland’s Women’s National Team. The collaboration aims to champion the women’s national team and further work with football authorities to encourage participation in the women’s game, whilst continuing to grow attendances.

Grassroots movement celebrates women's football
The ever-increasing participation of women at all levels of football will also be celebrated by grassroots organisations.

Fare founder and Sheffield-based Football Unites, Racism Divides (FURD) prepared a month-long series of events, including a women’s and girl’s activity day, film screenings, an exhibition and the FA Peoples Cup finals, while in Manchester, the National Football Museum is hosting a celebratory exhibition entitled 'Girls in the Game'.


In Spain, the annual congress of digital media, held between 10 and 11 March, will address the visibility of women’s sport in the media. Earlier this month, the Spanish La Liga announced Bayer Munich player Veronica Boquete as the league's first female ambassador, a step further in the process of Spanish footballing authorities to recognise the potential of women's football.

On the International Women’s Day the French Union National du Sport Scolaire will launch a photography exhibition highlighting the daily routines and training of athletes in school sport.

As part of the 50-year celebration of the Roma agreement on women in sport, Fare member UISP launched a video to acknowledge the achievements and campaign for further advances on gender equality in sport.

In Latvia ahead of the international day the organisation Sport For All hosted a football match between Latvian Members of European Parliament and the women's national team.

In Latin America, Argentina will see a sports reporter become the first female commentator of a Superclásico match between the Buenos Aires rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate and in Brazil the government will host a month-long of activities emphasising the role of women in sport. It will include a photography exhibition on women's sport.

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