International Day of the Girl: Time to break barriers
Chelsea Football Club is proud to be supporting International Day of the Girl alongside our global charity partner Plan International today (Wednesday).
A day that not only celebrates the achievements of girls around the world but also highlights the changes that need to be made to ensure girls are not discriminated against just for being a girl.
As partners, Chelsea FC and Plan International are working to help transform the lives of thousands of children through the reach and power of football.
Tanya Barron, Plan International’s chief executive said ‘International Day of the Girl, which marks its fifth anniversary this year, has come to be a key annual celebration of the power of girls, and a chance to highlight the barriers they face.
‘Together with Chelsea FC we want to shout about girls’ rights, both internationally and here in the UK, so we can start to break down barriers and create a world where no girl faces an uncertain future simply because of her gender.’
Chelsea Ladies – who are currently in Germany preparing for tonight’s UEFA Women’s Champions League second leg with Bayern Munich – have led the support with a host of players taking time out to discuss what, remains a taboo subject in much of society around the world; menstruation.
Drew Spence, Magdalena Eriksson and Erin Cuthbert among others all spoke to Plan about the subject and the barriers that girls are facing globally.
‘When I was younger I used to miss school because of my period, but I’ve always found that exercise helps,’ said Spence.
‘We track our periods so we know when to expect it and also how we tend to feel around those times. Knowing this and being able to observe things during that time helps us to plan alternative or modified practice schedules.
‘As an athlete you need to be aware of how menstruation affects your individual performance and it’s impossible to do that without talking openly about it.’
The logo of Plan International, our global charity partner, will also feature on Chelsea shirts during both the Champions League matches of both Antonio Conte and Emma Hayes’s sides this season.
Another vital way in which the club are closely working with Plan to support girls to break barriers is through our Champions of Change programme in Colombia. Over the summer break, Chelsea Ladies defender Claire Rafferty went out to visit the programme to see how football is being used to help break down the barriers girls are facing in their community.
Rafferty said; ‘Before, girls and boys in the community never played sports together. Now, playing football has given girls the confidence to challenge other stereotypes off the pitch, such as the age-old view that a women’s place is in the home.
‘Football is a useful tool, as everyone is equal as soon as you step on the pitch. Everyone is a player, a colleague; you are all fighting for the same goal. Girl or boy, you both need to do the same amount of work – therefore you are equal.
‘That respect stays with you when you leave the pitch, and hopefully flows over into wider society.’
The Chelsea Foundation will also provide school-based sessions for girls on Wednesday which will include practical activities and short poetry sessions which will focus on resilience and identity.
To find out more about International Day of the Girl and how you can join us in helping break the barriers girls are facing around the world, visit plan-uk.org/breakthebarriers
– Bayern Munich v Chelsea in the Women’s Champions League is a game that can be viewed live on Chelsea TV and on the club’s YouTube channel. Kick-off is 6pm UK time.