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Gender Equity

Investing in girls and women creates positive effects that reverberate throughout the course of her life, as well as in her family and community. Research consistently demonstrates that girls who play sports improve academically, make healthier choices, and show increased positive body-image and self-confidence. Despite these numerous benefits, less than 12% of participants in the “world's game” are female.

 

At Soccer Without Borders, we address barriers of all kinds to make sure that girls from diverse cultural backgrounds can get in the game. Our gender equity strategies also include boys and men in these important efforts, discussing positive masculinity, healthy relationships, and how to build allyship.

Breaking Down Barriers

Barriers to girls’ participation in sport stem from a range of factors — including familial obligations, social and cultural norms, economic constraints, and safety concerns — that often reinforce and exacerbate one another. Since many of these factors are deeply rooted in traditional sports models, eradicating them requires proactive, rather than simply reactive, approaches. 

Two girls and a female coach from SWB Nicaragua smile at the camera.

Access

Girls are more likely to face barriers accessing safe transportation or receiving permission from their families to attend practices and games.

SWB connects with families to provide open channels of communication about programming, and provides free transportation for participants when needed. 

Equipment

Girls face difficulty finding clothing and equipment that are comfortable, functional, and appropriate, ultimately impacting whether a girl steps onto the field. 

SWB provides well-fitting, appropriate, practical, and culturally-aware sports equipment and apparel for girls to feel confident and comfortable while participating. 

Opportunity

High school boys have 1.3 million more opportunities to play sports than girls do. By age 14, girls drop out of sports at two times the rate of boys. 

SWB programs provide safe, girls-only spaces with multiple on-ramps for participants of multiple skill levels to feel seen, included, and valued.

Role Models

Only 27% of coaches in the U.S. identify as female, meaning girls are less likely to be coached, led, and supported by on who shares a part of their identity. 

SWB provides at least one female coach for all girls-only teams, providing girls with similar-identity role models, and helping girls to feel more inspired, confident, and seen.

*Hover over a category to learn SWB's Approach

Impact by the Numbers

Most Recent Year

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10,000+

total girls served through TEAM programs, most playing organized sport for the 1st time.

47%

of SWB participants

identify as girls

51%

of SWB coaches

identify as women

250+

male participants completed the Coaching Boys into Men program

Impact Highlights

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Coaching Boys into Men at SWB Boston

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Goal 5 Accelerator Results

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Kampala Girls
League

I really like our league now. I feel like it's easier to learn how to play soccer and it feels really fun and easy even if I make a mistake or if we lose. It's about teaching other girls and having us as the girls be the teachers.

Vinusha, SWB Participant

Additional Resources

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adidas Breaking Barriers Academy

This online Academy features courses for organizational leaders and practitioners to elevate their understanding of how to create gender-equitable sport spaces on the pitch, on the sidelines, and in organizations. SWB is a Breaking Barriers expert partner alongside Women Win and Common Goal.

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