To coincide with International Day of the Girl, we've launched a new campaign – Let Girls Play - which supports our strategic ambition to give all girls equal access to play football in school by 2024.
Backed by Let Girls Play ambassadors Abi, 17, and Olivia,15, along with Barclays’ ambassador Kelly Smith MBE, the Let Girls Play campaign will inspire and empower communities and schools to want to help make change, unlocking equal opportunities for girls to participate in the sport.
Only 63 per cent of schools currently offer girls’ football in PE lessons and our ambition, as seen in the women’s and girls’ Inspiring Positive Change strategy, is to have 75 per cent of schools providing equal access to football for girls in PE lessons by 2024.
And the #LetGirlsPlay campaign supports this ambition by encouraging people to stop, listen and see how they can make a difference to this current challenge. The campaign’s website provides inspiring resources to help influence the start of change and allow more girls to feel the mental and physical benefits of exercise through playing football.
As part of the campaign, we'll be working with a group of, young women aged 14-18 all passionate about making a difference for girls who want to play football – our ‘Change Squad’. As long-standing powerful advocates, they will use their voices to help change long-held perceptions around the sport.
FA director of women’s football, Baroness Sue Campbell, said of the campaign: “Momentum is building as next summer’s UEFA Women’s EUROs gets ever closer, but we do not want to wait until then to inspire and empower others to help create equal access to playing football at school.
"Currently, only a third of girls aged 5-18 participate in football every week, and we want to change that. Now is the time to drive a far-reaching ambition to open up the game in every way to girls and the Let Girls Play campaign allows parents and teachers to play a huge role in joining us in this commitment.”
Former England international and Barclays ambassador Kelly Smith MBE, added: “When Barclays asked me to be part of the #LetGirlsPlay campaign, I couldn’t have been quicker to say yes.
"The campaign is one that’s very close to my heart and something I am extremely passionate about when it comes to providing equal access to football for young girls. When I started my journey in football, I had no other choice but to play in a local boys’ team and I wasn’t offered the opportunity to play football in school during PE lessons. This has progressed hugely over the last few years, and I’m proud to be part of The FA’s #LetGirlsPlay campaign which will really make a difference to the young girls like me who just want to play football.”
Olivia, a pioneer for equal access to football for young girls said of the launch: “I want every girl to have the opportunity to play football, just like boys. I think the #LetGirlsPlay campaign is a fantastic way to drive the equal access change and allow girls like me to feel supported, encouraged and given confidence to play football at every possible opportunity.”
To join the movement via social media, follow Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.