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Girls Football: For those who identify as and are allies

‘Girls Football: For those who identify as and are allies’ has now been running for an entire year at UNIS Hanoi. This activity began when teachers noticed that certain play spaces such as the field were largely dominated by boys playing football and this was also represented in the sign ups for co-educational after school activity football. Ms Maggie and Mr Matt inquired with Grade 4 and 5 students why this was. The main reasons were:

  • A mixed gender environment on the football pitch does not always feel supportive
  • Girls don’t feel included in games

The purpose of creating this girls only was to produce a supportive environment for our athletes to develop their skills, giving them the opportunity to play, practice, make mistakes and learn whilst also having fun. The ASA culminated in a football festival where our student athletes got to play against the teachers during recess time. The aim of this festival was to provide a fun event where the athletes could showcase their developing skills, playing in front of a crowd and raise awareness of girls playing football.

As we continue to raise awareness, we encourage families to support these conversations at home, to help with this we have provided some questions that you may have as a family:

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES THAT GIRLS FACE IN SPORT?

  • Lack of access, girls have 1.3 million fewer opportunities to play high school sports than boys have.
  • Fewer positive role models
  • Social stigma, girls may experience bullying, social isolation and negative performance evaluations.

WHAT CAN WE DO TO ENCOURAGE MORE GIRLS TO TAKE PART IN SPORT?

  • Be supportive.
  • Make it fun
  • Be patient, it takes time to develop skills!
  • Let them choose. There are many different sports, and different people like different activities.

HOW CAN WE MAKE SPORT MORE INCLUSIVE FOR GIRLS?

  • Create a positive and supportive environment. All students should feel welcome and supported in sports, regardless of their ability level. This means creating a positive and supportive environment where students feel comfortable trying new things and making mistakes.

  • Celebrate women in sport – watch women’s sport at home, and at live events where possible.  The FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off this summer, at the end of July – enjoy watching some matches with your family.