CFU launches campaign celebrating women and girls in football
Published on 08 March 2021
Bridgetown, BARBADOS (March 8, 2021)—The Caribbean Football Union (CFU) launches its campaign to promote the participation and retention of girls and women in football called #girlsplayfootball. The March 8 roll out is a nod to International Women’s Day, which has as its theme #ChooseToChallenge.
The #girlsplayfootball campaign aligns with the action agenda of the CFU Strategic Plan 2.0, under the pillar football development, strategic goals and objectives #2, which aims to increase participation rates at youth and grassroots levels and increase the amount of girls playing football across Member Associations.
The initiative, which runs until December, will, amongst other objectives, celebrate Caribbean women in football; address the barriers to women’s participation in football; and highlight the benefits and opportunities for women in football.
Initiated in 1911, International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. This year’s theme, #ChooseToChallenge, declares that, “a challenged world is an alert world. And from challenge comes change.”
Trailblazer Sonia Fulford, who is the president—first woman in the post—of the Turks and Caicos Islands Football Association, CFU Executive Committee member and the first woman elected to hold Concacaf and FIFA council positions, embraced the IWD theme and called on regional football associations to “be intentional about gender equality.”
“There are many benefits of introducing girls to football and just as many benefits and opportunities in retaining them in the sport. There is the benefit of physical fitness, good mental health and physical strength, and, one of my personal favorites, teamwork—building skills—which, ultimately, turns into lifelong leadership ability. These are benefits which can have a long-lasting impact on a girl’s life,” Fulford said.
Addressing the retention problem, Fulford added, “It is a common phenomenon that the women’s game loses a fair amount of players in the teenage years because of a myriad of issues. However, we need to ensure that the proper platform is laid in terms of coaching, competition, mentoring and leadership, so that the players can thrive at a higher level, whether it is on or off the field.”
Chairperson of the CFU Women’s Football Committee Jeaninne Wong Loi Sing agrees skills learned on the pitch stand a girl in good stead for life.
“It is important to introduce girls to football because it teaches them many skills that they can apply to their daily lives. One skill is daring to make decisions. They also learn teamwork. We need to encourage our girls to play football and to stick with the sport so that within 15 years, we can have women in positions, not just playing, but also shaping global football,” Wong Loi Sing said.
Over the course of the next nine months, the CFU will produce and disseminate content and collaborate with the 31 Member Associations to meet the campaign’s objectives. The organization invites the partnership of the regional media and other like-minded entities to engage in conversation and action that redounds to the benefit of women and girls in football.