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"Here for Every Goal": A Report on the Evolution and Impact of Women's Football.

Roger Hampel


Women's Football
Women's Football

In March 2024, a landmark report titled "Here for Every Goal" was released, offering a comprehensive look at the evolution and significant impact of women's and girls' football. Spearheaded by renowned academics Dr. Hanya Pielichaty and Dr. Ali Bowes, this academic-led document, supported by Barclays, examines the journey of women's football from grassroots initiatives to the professional stage, showcasing the sport's profound influence on participants and communities alike.


Dr. Bowes and Dr. Pielichaty's Contributions


Dr. Ali Bowes, with her extensive background in the study of women's sport, co-edited essential works such as "Women’s Football in a Global, Professional Era" (2023) and "The Professionalisation of Women’s Sport" (2021), alongside authoring numerous peer-reviewed articles. Dr. Hanya Pielichaty's expertise in sport and gender further enriches the report, offering unique insights into the sport's role in personal and community development.


The Grassroots Game: A Foundation for Success


At the heart of this revolution is the grassroots level, where football serves as a powerful tool for empowering young women and girls. The sport's capacity to develop key life skills such as resilience, self-esteem, and teamwork is unmatched. According to recent studies, an astounding 80% of girls involved in football report enhanced confidence, with nearly half feeling more confident than their peers not engaged in the sport. This is a testament to football's role in shaping identities and aspirations, offering a unique space where girls excel and envision a future filled with possibilities.


Unprecedented Growth in School Participation


A pivotal moment in the sport's development came in 2023, following an initiative that sought to expand access to football in schools for all students. Through the Barclays Girls’ Football School Partnerships (BGFSP), the landscape of school sports witnessed a transformative shift. The program's success is evident in the numbers; from 3,000 schools in 2019, the initiative has expanded to 19,992 schools offering football programs, providing countless girls with the opportunity to engage with the sport.


Women's Football
Women's Football

FOT: Page 23 of the report | Pielichaty, H., & Bowes, A. (2024). Here for Every Goal. Barclays.


The Impact Beyond the Field


"Here for Every Goal" delves into how football has become a crucial platform for personal growth, confidence building, and the development of essential life skills such as teamwork, leadership, and resilience. The report highlights the unique space football offers for girls to explore and excel in their abilities, fostering a sense of identity and belonging.


Strengthening Communities and Fostering Identities


The surge in women's and girls' football participation has not only enhanced the sport's visibility but also strengthened community ties. The formation of "sisterhoods" within teams has created supportive networks, empowering players to challenge perceptions and strive for excellence on and off the pitch. The increased visibility of women in football, from players to coaches and leaders, serves as an inspiration for future generations.


The Way Forward


As the landscape of women's football continues to evolve, "Here for Every Goal" underscores the importance of nurturing the sport at all levels. The growth seen in school participation rates and the expansion of professional opportunities underscore the sport's potential to serve as a catalyst for personal and community development. The report calls for sustained support and investment in women's football, highlighting its role in shaping the future of the sport and its participants.


Source: Pielichaty, H., & Bowes, A. (2024). Here for Every Goal. Barclays.


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