By Faye Hackwell
This year saw us celebrate Her Game Too’s second birthday and achieve huge growth in the campaign through events, new partnerships, volunteer recruitment and increased awareness of our work.
As 2024 approaches, we have taken the opportunity to look back at ten of our highlights from 2023:
More football clubs becoming Her Game Too partners
Liverpool FC were among the football clubs to announce partnerships with Her Game Too this year, as part of the club’s Red Together campaign, while AEK Athens became our first professional partner club outside of the UK and US. Other clubs to become partners in 2023 included the likes of Sheffield United, Blackburn Rovers, Blackpool and Southampton, meaning we are now partnered with 73 of the 92 Premier League and English Football League clubs - a number we hope to continue building on in 2024.
Holding our most Her Game Too dedicated fixtures to date
More than 50 Her Game Too dedicated fixtures took place during the weeks surrounding International Women’s Day in March, with clubs across the country marking the occasion in different ways. These included players warming up in Her Game Too t-shirts, groups of women and girls experiencing live football in person for the first time and Her Game Too Ambassadors being interviewed pitchside about the campaign. There were also messages from players about the influential women in their lives shown on big screens, laps of appreciation by clubs’ women’s teams and local girls grassroots sides invited to be mascots and flag bearers.
Working in partnership to stamp out sexist chanting at games
Gillingham became the first EFL club to temporarily ban two fans for sexist chanting. Her Game Too worked with the League Two club to act on misogynistic comments made during a game against Newport County in October. The fans were required to complete educational training about discrimination provided by our campaign through Kick It Out before they could return to fixtures. Her Game Too representatives also worked with other clubs throughout the football pyramid to act on reports of sexist comments and misogynism made at games and online during the year and our reporting channel was promoted at football grounds across the country.
The launch of Her Game Too training centres
Our first Her Game Too football training centre opened in the autumn, with the aim of creating more opportunities for more women and girls to take up football and develop their skills. The initial centre in Cardiff, for females of all abilities, opened in partnership with the Women’s Football Collective and there are plans for further training centres to open in different parts of the country in the future.
Growing our team of Her Game Too Ambassadors, Advocates and Player Advocates
Our volunteer team grew to more than 110-strong, as new recruits from fanbases at clubs across the country became Her Game Too Ambassadors and Advocates - working with their clubs to achieve the campaign’s aims, lead initiatives and events in their area and promote Her Game Too among fellow supporters. We also saw a number of players at Her Game Too partner clubs show their support by becoming Her Game Too Player Advocates. These included our first Premier League and Women’s Super League Player Advocates at Everton, where Seamus Coleman and Megan Finnigan now represent the campaign, as well as Harry Lewis and Jamie Walker at Bradford City, Tom Crawford at Hartlepool United, Jay Rich Baghuelou at Accrington Stanley and Lee Burge at Northampton Town.
Celebrating the Lionesses’ incredible World Cup run
Her Game Too marked England reaching their first Women’s World Cup Final in August through watch parties and our own combined good luck message to Sarina Wiegman’s team. As interest in women’s football grew significantly during 2023, with attendance records broken in several competitions, we also held our first online virtual question and answer session in partnership with Virtual Soccer Schools. This saw Martha Thomas of Manchester United Women talk about life inside the professional game and how she has dealt with sexism during her career.
Her Game Too Cymru reaching new audiences
An opportunity for a group of South Asian women to attend their first football match when Wales hosted Armenia in June was one of several events held by Her Game Too Cymru this year. The inaugural “An Evening with Her Game Too Cymru” also took place in Cardiff in October, with a guest panel including Cardiff City Women full-back Ffion Price and former Cardiff City and Cymru international Robert Earnshaw - both of whom are now Her Game Too Champions. In a significant move to promote football as a welcoming and equal sport across Wales, Her Game Too Cymru also partnered with the Football Association of Wales’ Adran Leagues and JD Cymru Leagues - which cover all of the top tiers of the Welsh domestic leagues across the men’s and women’s games.
Her Game Too growing across other sports
The launch of Her Game Too Ice Hockey saw a new sport added to the campaign’s existing work across football, cricket and rugby. Team GB Ice Hockey and Ice Hockey UK showed their support for the new arm of the campaign by becoming Her Game Too partners. We also saw volunteer ambassadors join the team to promote the campaign within the sport and partnerships announced with organisations including Solent Amazons, UK All Star Barbarians and Mind Ice Hockey.
More safe and welcoming places for women to watch sport
Through our partnership with WeLoveSport, thousands of pubs and bars are now official Her Game Too partner venues - meaning they promote themselves as safe spaces for women to watch live sport, with trained staff and a reporting line for customers to communicate any incidents of sexism. Holiday Inn in Manchester, which is a popular venue with football fans visiting the city for matches, also broke new ground by becoming the first Her Game Too partner hotel in July.
Growing the Her Game Too trophy collection
It was a busy year of awards ceremonies for the Her Game Too team, with more silverware being added to the trophy cabinet and the reward of seeing our work recognised on a national scale. In November, we celebrated picking up two gold awards at the Football Content Awards, which were the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Award for organisations and the Best in Women’s Football Award for organisations. Roopa Vyas, Her Game Too Director and Liverpool Ambassador, was also nominated in the individual sub-category of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Award for her work in demonstrating exceptional commitment to promoting EDI. Earlier in the year, the campaign was highly commended behind winner Ian Wright in the Women’s Football Champion of the Year category at the inaugural Women’s Football Awards. Her Game Too was also shortlisted in the Community Organisation Award for Gender category at the National Diversity Awards and we won the Football Inclusion Award at the Non-League Bible Awards.
With so many achievements and memorable moments to look back on from 2023, we are excited about how we will see the campaign grow in 2024. Thank you to all our partners, volunteers and everyone who has supported Her Game Too this year – we couldn’t have done it without you.
Below is our 2 year celebration video from May 2023: