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International Women's Day

League celebrates International Women's Day

8 Mar 2019
PL Schools Tournament

The Premier League and clubs have been supporting females in growing the game in the UK and abroad

The Premier League and its clubs are celebrating International Women’s Day on 8 March, showcasing the women and girls whom they have supported and who are helping to grow the game we all love.

The Premier League’s Girls Football programme has provided opportunities for females aged 11 and over to take part in the sport in a local community setting since 2013.

A total of 88 professional clubs run the programme, with more than 63,000 women and girls engaged.

For someone like Courtney Wilkinson, a 16-year-old Burnley girl, the programme run by Burnley in the Community rekindled her love of the game and developed her skills to a level where she is now appearing for Burnley reserves.

See: Girls programme offering Wilkinson a path to success

The programme also inspired Maddie Szwed, the mother of a daughter who played, into playing herself. With the help of Palace For Life Foundation she now has the necessary qualifications to coach her daughter's team.

In the last 12 months, more than 150,000 women and girls have been involved in programmes delivered by clubs and funded by the Premier League.

Programmes such as the Premier League/BT Disability Fund, which has helped people such as Sara Hayles, who has autism, epilepsy and is partially deaf, to make the step towards her dream of becoming a professional football manager.

See: Aston Villa giving Sara chance to be coaching role model

Or Premier League Primary Stars, which helped transform Hannah in Wolverhampton from a disruptive pupil to a prefect.

See: Hannah a role model with help of PL Primary Stars

Through the provision of facilities the Premier League is helping to boost the women's game in Blackpool.

The Premier League and FA Facilities Fund helped to pay for the installation of a new 3G all-weather pitch at Unity Academy, delivered by the Football Foundation, where 20 new teams will now be possible over the next five years.

See: Women's football in Blackpool boosted by new pitch

Premier Skills

Premier Skills, the international development programme run by the Premier League and the British Council, has been giving women around the world the opportunity to inspire others in their communities.

Through the programme Liezl Windvogel and Nomonde Mashabane became coaches in Soweto, South Africa, helping others to develop the game as well as acting as role models.

In India, Premier Skills has enabled women such as Kuntala in Mumbai and Kalpana Debbarma in the north of the country to develop their love of the game and spread it and grow it within their communities.

See:  Premier Skills helps Kalpana spread love of football

Females coaches

The Premier League has been looking to make the coaching landscape more reflective of our diverse society, with more women involved.

For the past three years, its Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and Female Coach initiative has been providing opportunities and funding for coaches from these areas to enrol in the Elite Coach Apprenticeship Scheme (ECAS). 

Thanks to ECAS Natalie Henderson has developed to become Under-12s coach at the Newcastle United Academy.

Natalie Henderson, Newcastle United
The Premier League's ECAS helped Natalie Henderson become Under-12s coach at Newcastle United

"Everybody has their own qualities and everybody has their own experiences to pass on to the players, and that’s really important, to have a diverse set of staff to help that," Natalie says.

Our clubs have also been celebrating the day.

At Liverpool, the staff and players of the men and women's teams have showed their gratitude to the women who inspired them in a video message. 

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