Football is growing at a rapid rate globally, and with more and more coverage, the rise of social media and mega stadiums for huge fanbases, the sport has fallen behind to accommodate every supporter.
With the game historically a male-dominated sport and often linked with online and in-stadium abuse, #HerGameToo is changing the game for good to help girls and women be heard and ensure it’s a safe sport to a part of.
Having surveyed 394 football fans, with the majority between 18 and 30, they’ve found that just over 92% of them have seen sexist abuse online targeted towards female football fans, players, pundits and staff at football clubs.
They also discovered that 58% of them have been subject to sexist abuse when watching in a stadium or at a pub or bar, while over 62% have experienced sexist abuse online because of football.
Making waves in the game since their inception, here’s what #HerGameToo have been doing to tackle these problems rooted in football…
Who Are They?
Founded by 12 passionate female football fans, committed to growing an ethos in which women are welcomed and respected equally, #HerGameToo is a non-profit founded upon support, empowerment and progress within the game.
Aiming to raise awareness, educate and create a strong sense of community in football, making it a safe environment for women and girls to a part of; the organisation has grown vastly in the past year, with club advocates and ambassadors across the football leagues playing their part.
How Did #HerGameToo Start?
The organisation was launched on 15th May 2021 – the day of last year’s FA Cup final. They released an initial video that hit the headlines on social media, jumping up to #2 trending in the UK on Twitter just an hour after publishing. With 1 million views in the bank after the first 24 hours, #HerGameToo had gained support from several clubs within the EFL and an impressive 6,000 followers.
Fast forward 9 months down the line, and they can proudly say they have already formed 49 partnerships with professional clubs, with further partnerships formed with grassroots clubs to encourage female participation at amateur level.
Not only that, they’ve also boasted more impressive numbers online, with 20,000 followers on Twitter and a whopping 1.9 million views on their original video.
To grow their campaign, they’ve implemented a new system to report any abuse in football stadiums and have pushed the visibility of their brand across the country, most recently with Leeds United players wearing their shirts in the pre-game warm-up before the highly-anticipated home clash with Manchester United.
With a vast number of clubs up-and-down the country signed up as partners, what exactly does it entail?
Each club has pledged against sexist abuse within football, especially in stadiums, where women and girls are being actively encouraged to attend games, making it a safe space for them to watch their team.
In addition to this, each club will work with #HerGameToo and their affiliated Community Trust to educate the next generation on the current problem in the game.
Making the headlines once again last year, #HerGameToo announced their first ever Premier League partnership with Everton FC on Boxing Day. This marked the anniversary of the Dick, Kerr Ladies’ fixture that attracted over 53,000 fans to Goodison Park before the FA issued a ban on women’s football that lasted 50 years.
Gettin’ The Word Out
It’s not just their online presence that’s been voiced in the past year, building these strong partnerships with numerous clubs has allowed them to push their campaign to a bigger audience.
From big screen adverts to LED branding around the pitch, the word is spreading fast! They’ve gone one step further and are now front shirt sponsors for Bristol Rovers Women’s team.
As well as this, they’re making sure every partner stadium is a safe space for girls and women, with flyers, posters and dedicated pages in programmes offering support and helplines for them to discreetly report discrimination at the stadium.
Growin’ The Game
Putting women’s and girls’ participation at the forefront of their identity, to encourage fans from a young age to visit their local side, they’ve created dedicated fixtures throughout this season for #HerGameToo.
For these fixtures, they gave out free tickets to the girls in the local area to attend their first ever football match, such as the game between Bristol City and Cardiff City at Ashton Gate.
In the amateur game, they’ve released a range of apparel, including the first #HerGameToo football shirt, with all the money raised donated to grassroots women’s football.
But with still so much more to be done to level the playing field, this is only the beginning! For everything #HerGameToo, make sure you’re following their socials, @hergametoo, and stay locked in for loads more football content on @jdfootball!
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JD Football | November 21, 2023