Liverpool Football Club celebrated IWD via a range of #ChoosetoChallenge activities
Liverpool Football Club (LFC) successfully celebrated International Women's Day through an impressive range of activities focused around the theme #ChoosetoChallenge and played a key part in helping inspire the next generation of female players.
Challenging social norms as well as ourselves
Supporting the IWD theme, LFC caught up with Reds on the importance of being challenged and addressing how it plays a part in their lives as women.
Women in Football panel with Chris Kirkland
Former Reds goalkeeper Chris Kirkland hosts an engaging Women in Football panel focusing on discussions from women around the club on what #ChoosetoChallenge means to them and footballing pathways from grassroots to elite for women and girls. Guest speakers will discuss their sporting journeys through to the present day, covering everything from success and failures, and participation of girls in football. Plus participants get to ask their own questions. Speakers are:
- Julie Grundy, Former Leeds United Ladies player, 2x league title winner, FA Cup & League Cup winner who has an illustrious coaching and managing career spanning over 16 years starting out as Technical Director for Leeds United COE & most recently in 2018, Academy Manager for Liverpool Women.
- Comfort Etim, Advocacy Policy officer at Refugee Women’s Connect, former Nigeria and Tottenham Hotspur Women’s football player, and current player of Amnesty Ladies with the County FA & LFC Foundation.
- Rachael Laws, Goalkeeper for Liverpool FC Women and Liverpool FC Women’s first signing of Summer 2020 who has previously spent two years in the Women’s Super League with Reading, and is a Women’s Super League title winner with Liverpool FC Women back in 2013 when she was on loan from Sunderland.
- Jessica Clarke, the Forward for Liverpool FC Women who joined the Reds from Notts County in 2017 and is a vastly experienced player who started her career with Leeds Carnegie, playing in two FA Women’s Cup Finals and winning the Premier League in 2010. Internationally, Jess has earned more than 50 caps with England.
Paying it forward for women in the community
The Club has worked with five local female-led businesses to create the Get Involved and Pay it Forward initiative, which has seen the club donate £500 to each business in order to cover the cost of their product or service for women in the community who may not be in a position to cover it themselves.
To generate further awareness for the small businesses, Club staff were set a #ChoosetoChallenge task to complete for each of the small businesses, which include:
- Homebaked Bakery in Anfield
- Belly by Rachael, a service which provides virtual support services for isolated new mums
- Liverpool Weaving Company, Liverpool’s first and only micro mill
- Liverpool Vets, who support the clinical care of the pets of people living on the street
- Kitty's community laundrette
LFC Foundation also created a special International Women’s Day edition of its Works: Careers Uncovered session, exploring career paths of local female business owners.
Workshop LFC Women squad members
LFC Women’s academy also held a workshop with members of the LFC Women squad which focused on their rise to be professional sportspeople, inspiring the young women who are hot on their heels by exploring how they overcome gender bias.
Additiobally, LFC Foundation’s Primary Stars sessions focused on the importance of gender parity using examples of incredible female athletes and their experiences along the way to help illustrate the importance of overcoming barriers.
LFC Women interim manager Amber Whiteley discussed the crucial role of allyship with the Academy’s U18s squad and why levelling up gender bias is a job for both men and women.
Club staff and partners participated in the celebrations
Club staff were also encouraged to join #ChoosetoChallenge themed discussion sessions to understand everyday challenges faced by women and what International Women’s Day represents for them.
Club partners also joined in with the celebrations. Main sponsor Standard Chartered held internal panel sessions for its employees and clients with senior female leaders at the club and members of the LFC Women squad.
Principal partners AXA and Expedia also used the International Women’s Day theme to raise awareness of the issues facing women in sport, and the club’s official global unified communications partner, Mitel, discussed the impact of the pandemic on women.
Activities led by Unity Collective
International Women’s Day activities were led by the club's gender parity staff group, Unity Collective, which was established just over two years ago and on IWD represented the club at the Northern Power Women Awards that celebrate the very best in women’s achievements, mentoring and levelling up. LFC sponsored the Highly Commended Mentor of the Year award category.
Lynne Stockton Howard, Senior Vice President, HR, and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Executive Sponsor at LFC, said: “As part of our Red Together strategy we are dedicated to ensuring the club is a fair and inclusive place for all of our colleagues and supporters.
“Making sure we celebrate important milestones like International Women’s Day not only helps to accelerate gender parity but ensures the conversation around equality and diversity in all of its forms does not go away.”
Thank you Liverpool Football Club for important activity supporting International Women's Day and its theme, and the advancement of women overall.