22 September 2021
Women's voices in the football industry are set to reach a wider audience than ever before after a pledge made by the World Football Summit (WFS) as part of the #GetOnside campaign.
For the past five years the WFS has been bringing together clubs with commercial stakeholders in the game. From the 2022 event onwards, the summit will ensure that at least 30 per cent of speakers are women.
On the eve of the 2021 summit in Madrid, Women in Football asked WFS Director Jan Alessie why the organisation became involved in #GetOnside and what the pledge would mean for women playing and working in football.
The pledge, Jan said, would be about "amplifying female voices and promoting their work in the football industry", adding: "We’re certain that this kind of initiative, and the other incredible work done by our long-term partners at Women in Football, will break down barriers to access that women face at almost every entry point and we’re excited to be part of this campaign."
While progress has been made towards levelling the playing field, Jan feels actions like this remain necessary. WFS, he said, has taken an interest in equality for women in the game for some time, and every summit has featured women's football since the first in 2016.
"For us, this is part of a long-held ambition to help create more diversity in football and to be the drivers of real change when it comes to gender equality. The gender gap within sport is still significant and we believe that this commitment will serve to aid its narrowing.
"This is something we’ve held close to our hearts ever since the first World Football Summit in 2016, which we followed up with the Women’s Football Summit a year later and, as recently as this year, we ran a series of webinars that gave female voices the platform to discuss industry obstacles and opportunities.
"It is one of our primary goals to help professionalise the industry and empower women from all over the world that want to get into the business."
Within a week of its launch, Women in Football's #GetOnside campaign had secured almost 100 pledges of action from organisations and individuals seeking to be part of the change, with around 400,000 views for its promotional video.
So how would WFS sum up its contribution to the campaign – and what the hopes that go with it?
Jan said: "In committing to a minimum of 30% of female speakers from 2022 onwards, we hope that we’re able to open doors for women already working in football, or looking for their big break, by creating a legitimate pathway for professional progression.
"If we can also show the next generation of young girls who dream of carving out a career in football that it’s possible to chase those dreams, then that would be very special to us."
Women in Football would like to thank WFS for being part of #GetOnside with a powerful pledge of action, and to send best wishes for the 2021 summit and beyond.
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