As the Women’s World Cup for football draws to a close next week, children around the world will celebrate Global Girls Football Day on 11 October, a day jointly designated by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the sport’s governing body to spotlight the UN agency’s efforts to get more girls into school.
UNICEF and the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) teamed up this year, they said, to highlight the right to play and the right to education, two crucial areas of child development in which girls are often overlooked. The designated day falls on the day before the final championship match in Los Angeles.
“For millions of girls, certain basic rights are seen as a privilege or luxury,” UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said. “UNICEF and FIFA believe that girls should have equal opportunities to make a better life for themselves through an education and by playing and participating in sports.”
FIFA president Joseph S. Blatter added that the number of girls excluded from school was an “alarming indication that girls today are entering a future without hope and without options.” He said the entire community paid the price for that loss.
In an ongoing partnership for the last several years, FIFA has used its major tournaments to promote football as a vehicle for the fulfilment of children’s rights. Beyond sports events, UNICEF and FIFA are expanding their alliance to partnerships and programmes at the national level that address the health, education and protection of children and adolescents.