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Gender Equity Fund

Invest in Soccer Without Borders’ global efforts to advance gender equity within and through sport!


The Gender Equity Fund accelerates innovation, learning, and collaboration across all of our gender equity initiatives, while also supporting urgent needs and priorities within SWB’s work with girls programming.


Thanks to the generosity of multiple donors, we are already more than halfway towards our goal of raising $150,000 in the first year of the Fund!  


So whether you decide to make an annual pledge (which would make you an MVP!) or a one-time donation, your contribution is instrumental in helping close the gap, reach our fundraising goal, and (most importantly) harness the world’s game to advance equity and inclusion worldwide. Join us!

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As of March 2024

Current Gender Equity Fund Priorities:

  • Re-stabilizing annual funding for our direct service work with girls at SWB Nicaragua following a multi-year socio-political crisis

  • Deepening our work in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and Gender-based Violence (GBV) Prevention through partnerships with expert organizations

  • Expanding the Kampala Girls League

  • Strengthening participant-to-coach pathways for girls across our USA Hubs

  • Bringing the Accelerator model to new regions and organizations

  • Upgrading our evaluation framework to capture and measure collaborative projects

The Global Need

According to the UN, only 15% of GG5 indicators are on track to be met on time. Based on current progress,  it will take:

  • 300 years to end child marriage

  • 286 years to close gaps in legal protections and remove discriminatory laws

  • 140 years for women to be represented equally in positions of power and leadership in the workplace

  • 47 years to achieve equal representation in parliament (elected political positions).


Soccer is one of the few global languages and cultural phenomena capable of reaching enough people to have a meaningful impact on vital issues such as gender equality.


Indeed, professional women’s soccer players are leading the charge for equal pay and the prevention of sexual-harassment and gender-based violence in the workplace. Yet, on a global scale only 12% of girls participate in sport, the vast majority of youth sports coaches are men, and under 6% of sports media coverage focuses on women's sports.


For girls and women in immigrant communities in the US and in developing countries, each of these disparities is even greater, as economic circumstances and cultural norms further limit opportunities to play and lead.                  

Keep scrolling to learn more!

Our Strategy

Our gender equity strategy includes five components:

Click on the puzzle pieces for more:

On the


On the 




In the 




The GG5 Accelerator Model


Our GG5 Accelerator model provides technical assistance and capacity building support to partner orgs, reducing barriers to access and maintaining safe, empowering, and female-coached soccer programs for girls. Drawing directly from SWB’s direct service work, the GG5 Accelerator framework has proven
effective in each of its iterations over the last several years.


In East Africa, 4 different iterations of the Goal 5 Accelerator generated the following impact:

  • On the pitch: 7000+ girls benefited from new program offerings inspired by organizational Gender Action Plans;


  • On the sidelines: 100+ coaches conducted self-assessments, built Gender Action Plans, and participated in cohort-based learning;


  • In organizations: 40+ orgs have been exposed to the GG5 Accelerator framework

Impact by the Numbers

Fiscal Year 2023

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Girls Participated in

SWB's TEAM Programs 


Women Staff Members Within SWB's Executive Leadership Team


Participant Girls  Held Formal Leadership Roles


Women Staff Members at our SWB Nicaragua Hub

Our Contribution to SDG 5

Soccer Without Borders’ gender equity strategy to date has contributed most directly to the following targets:


End discrimination against women and girls


End all violence against and exploitation of women and girls


Value all unpaid care and promote shared domestic responsibilities


Ensure full participation in leadership and decision-making

On Gender Equity at SWB

by Co-Founder Mary Connor

It is commonly said that you can “roll a soccer ball out anywhere in the world and kids will come play.” This phenomenon has earned football (soccer) the nickname of “the global game” or the “world’s universal language.”  In reality, in most of the world when you roll that ball out the vast majority of those kids who will come play will identify as boys. Soccer has been shaped for and by men and boys, with a long history of not only ignoring women and girls, but at times outright banning their participation. From its very beginnings, Soccer Without Borders set gender balance (defined as no more than 60% of a single gender) as a goal at every level of the organization, with a commitment to explicitly investing in access and inclusion for girls and women. 

It’s essential that those who seek to advance gender equity in the world not only promote it outside of themselves, but actively practice what they preach. This takes more than just intention; it takes a rigorous attention to policies, recruitment, hiring practices, retention strategies, advancement pathways, investment, team culture, representation in leadership, and more. We continue to evolve our understanding of gender identity, norms and equitable practices and have now institutionalized our commitment to Equity as a core value, holding ourselves accountable to this value through our DEI goals.  Learn more

    Mary Connor

    SWB Co-Founder

Mary Connor

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