At the current rate of progress, it will take 286 years for the world to achieve gender equality. That’s… not a great number.
Gender equality is essential in the fight against global inequality. When girls have the same opportunities as boys, great things happen. And sports can be a key way to empower girls on and off the pitch.
To mark this year’s Women’s World Cup, we’re highlighting some female athletes and soccer stars who have started organizations that promote gender equality and empower girls through sport.
Alex Morgan Foundation
Founded by the US soccer star Alex Morgan, the Alex Morgan Foundation strives to create “equity and opportunity on the field and off.” Created in 2023, the foundation works to identify challenges that girls and women face.
The foundation supports and invests in programs and solutions that will impact women and girls on many levels, both systemic and personal. This impact focuses on everything from equality in sports, support for mothers, and more.
The organization also partners with a local organization in San Diego to support recreational soccer needs for girls.
Asisat Oshoala Academy
Providing girls with access to sports and education is the Asisat Oshoala Academy’s mission. The academy is the namesake organization of Asisat Oshoala, a player for the Nigerian women’s national team. It helps girls from marginalized communities across Africa.
Girls train up to three times a week and also get crucial life education, including empowerment skills and information about their rights. The Asisat Oshoala Academy believes that through sport, girls learn to empower themselves and become leaders within their own communities.
Founded by former Afghan player Khalida Popal, Girl Power provides women and girls with ways to connect via education and sport. Girl Power aims to change “out of date thinking” and give young leaders the tools they need to use sport to enact change in their communities, by becoming a Girl Power coach or creating their own recreational football teams. Girl Power connects people from different communities and backgrounds and hosts events and a leadership academy to empower young people to use “sport as a tool for social good in their own communities.”
Khalida Popal understands the fight for equality in football very well. She overcame significant opposition to found the Afghan women’s national team in 2007. She later became the first woman employed by the Afghanistan Football Federation, and she helped expose abuse and harassment of female athletes in Afghanistan. In her previous role as a defender, her job was to defend her team. Today, she’s a “defender of human rights.”
La Nuestra Fútbol Nacional
Based out of Villa 31 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, La Nuestra Fútbol Nacional is a local organization that works to create a safe space through culture and sport for women, girls, and members of the LGBTIQ+ community. Villa 31’s history as the “oldest low-income community” in Buenos Aires is one of the driving forces behind La Nuestra Fútbol Nacional’s work. Co-founded by Mónica Santino, a feminist activist and former head coach for the Argentine Football Coaches Association, the organization works to empower and strengthen women and members of the LGBTIQ+ community through education and sport.
By giving women and LGBTIQ+ people space to build their football identity and by working with government and non-governmental organizations to eliminate barriers in football, La Nuestra Fútbol Nacional is fighting for equality both on and off the pitch.