Inspirational Women at the Football for Good Forum in Sydney

During the second to last day of Festival23, on August 12, 2023, the Football for Good Forum was held in a collaborative space designed to communicate and embed the positive impact women’s football can have as a driver towards a more just and equal society. The forum saw the participation of outstanding female role models in all levels of football (in organisations and clubs, on the sidelines and the pitch and in the community). Common Goal, Creating Chances and Football United all worked together to inspire the young female participants to become future leaders in football, and to believe that there is a place for them and many opportunites for them across all of football. Additionally, the intention was to to send a key message; they can’t do it alone, it is on all of us (including male allies) to make it possible and pave the way towards true equal opportunities and the development of the Women’s game.

The forum hosted different panels and workshops. For example, the opening keynote panel was under the title “Paving the way for Women’s Leadership in Football”. Moderated by the incredible Sol Fauquier from Common Goal, the speakers were Sashana Campbell, member of the Reggae Girlz, the Jamaican National Women’s Football Team, and also a mentor and a coach; Anyier Yuol a former Football United participant and a PHD Candidate; and Haley Carter, the VP and GM of the U.S. based Football Club Orlando Pride.

It was emotional to hear the struggles all of these women faced (no matter where they came from) to get to where they are now: Sashana and her teammates have to continuously fight for recognition and support for their team from the Jamaican Football Federation. Anyier continues to stand up for human rights for migrants and refugees, as well as gender diversity and cultural competency. Haley played a leading role in uncovering abuse and protecting the Afghan Women’s National Team from exploitation.

The Ball, too, was a guest at the Football for Good Forum. It was inspiring to meet so many female leaders as well as enthustiastic environmentalists. Here are some of the amazing pledges that were made during the Festival23 F4G Forum:

Adelle Gillen works for the US Consulate in Sydney. Like other members of the U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Australia, she was happy to sign The Ball and emphasize the U.S. diplomacy’s focus on gender equality and climate action. The US Embassy in Australia has been supporting The Ball across Australia.

My name is Adelle Gillen, I am the head of Public Affairs at the US Consulate in Sydney and I pledge to keep climate at the heart of all of our diplomatic efforts. One Ball, One World.

How great it was to see the effect of a powerful pledge. Haley Carter had signed The Ball in January 2023 and told us what benefits her pledge brought to her club:

My name is Haley Carter and I am the Vice President of Soccer Operations and General Manager for the Orlando Pride. Since I got to sign The Ball in January of 2023, my club has pledged not to have paper programmes in matches. Our stadium is completely paper free, so for fans as they walk in they now use the app to access our rosters and we have saved a significant amount of money and paper.

We had been connected to Liz Courtney via Vitas Carosella, who wrote an article about The Ball for Forbes Sport. We quickly realized that we are equally passionate about Climate Action and raising awareness about Climate Change. Liz is the co-founder of the Sustainable Sports Programme, a grassroots initiative for local sports clubs to motivate youth and family engagement in sustainable habits to benefit their community. Their goal is to help clubs to adopt more sustainable practices, that players can be proud of, allowing everyone to play a leadership role in their community. Vasse Soccer Club, that we worked with in Western Australia, for instance, would be interested in becoming a member of their programme.

Hi, I am Liz Courtney, and I am from the Sustainable Sports Programme here in Australia. I am very excited to be the 12,103rd signature on this amazing ball. My pledge is to make sure over the next two years that we take the Sustainable Sports Programme nationally across Australia. So that is my pledge to support climate and give youth a voice through soccer.

Jan Fitzgerald is the CEO of Sports Environment Alliance, a not-for-profit organisation, with a purpose of protecting and enhancing the natural environment of Australasia by promoting sustainability, sustainable development, regeneration, and use of resources by educating the general public through mass engaging cultural levers, namely, the sport community and industry, and engaging communities and encouraging climate action.

My name is Jan Fitzgerald, I am the CEO of Sports Environment Alliance (SEA), and my pledge is to continue to work with sporting organisations across Australia and New Zealand to help them reduce their environmental and climate impact.

Charlotte Thompson works for COPA 90, a football media platform. She promotes women’s sports content and therefore helps to make women in sport more visible!

Hi I am Charlotte Thompson, Head of Women’s Football at COPA 90, and I pledge to keep having conversations to push gender equality so that we don’t have to have those conversations anymore.

Manal Rostom is a successful athlete and is an inspiration to all girls who want to pursue sport, especailly in the Arabic speaking world.

Hi everybody my name is Manal Rostom I am a marathon runner and a mountaineer, most famous for being Nike’s running ambassador and for being the first Egyptian woman to climb Mount Everest. Today, holding this football I pledge to drive equality, inclusivity and gender equity for all women in sports.

3 thoughts on “Inspirational Women at the Football for Good Forum in Sydney

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *