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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 direct service work. Contributions to the fund can support all gender equity initiatives, or can be made in support of a specific initiative. 

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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 (also known as the Equal Play Effect) model to new regions and organizations

  • Upgrading our evaluation framework to capture and measure collaborative projects

Our Strategy

Our gender equity strategy includes five components:

On the 


Growing the game for girls and gender minorities who have been historically excluded from full participation in sport

On the 


Building pathways for women coaches and leaders, particularly from unrepresented cultural backgrounds



Shifting program design and policies to create more gender-inclusive organizations

In the 


Strengthening cross-sector collaborations and coalitions to mobilize systemic change



Engaging men and boys in combatting gender-based violence and promoting healthy masculinity 

Our Contribution to SDG 5

According to U.N. Women, while some progress has been made toward Gender Equality, there is still much work to be done to reach all targets by 2030. 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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