top of page

IWD 2023 - Football Is a Game For All

Eight Her Game Too Ambassadors to inspire us on International Women’s Day

To mark International Women’s Day 2023, here are the stories behind why eight ambassadors became involved with Her Game Too and what they are achieving with their clubs:

Latoyah Egerton, Exeter City Ambassador: “The steward told us ‘women shouldn’t be

here anyway’”

After arriving at an away ground to support Exeter City, Latoyah and her female friends

discovered the only toilets they could find were unisex ones with urinals and one shared

cubicle without a sanitary bin.

When they questioned a steward about it, they received the response: “Women shouldn’t be

here anyway.”

Afterwards, the club told Latoyah they didn’t agree with the steward’s comments, explained

there were more facilities inside and said sanitary bins were “on order” - but the experience

was motivation for her to take action.

“I took it upon myself to raise just how unacceptable this was and highlight what could be

done differently.”

She contacted Her Game Too in the process and discovered Exeter City were already

involved with the campaign but didn’t have an ambassador.

“I immediately applied, as I am passionate that nobody should feel excluded when enjoying

a sport that they love and I wanted to do all I could to help spread the message and support

the movement.”

Latoyah and her team are now working towards hosting a dedicated Her Game Too

weekend on March 11 and 12, with a record-breaking crowd of more than 2,000 expected to

attend the women’s fixture at St James’s Park on Sunday.

She has been supporting Exeter City since she was 18 and last season experienced the

high of watching the men’s team gain promotion to League One.

But despite many positive experiences, she still feels there is work to be done to stamp out

sexism in the game.

“I've spent my life being questioned on whether I actually like football and being quizzed on

the offside rule and how many players I can name to prove that I am indeed a fan - all

because of my gender.

“I want to help work towards a world where nobody is questioned on whether they are

actually a valid fan because of their gender.”

Heather Hoggatt, AFC Bournemouth Ambassador: “Inappropriate comments make me more determined to expand my football knowledge”

Heather surprised herself by falling in love with the beautiful game in her 40s, having previously despised football.

A friend persuaded her to watch an AFC Bournemouth match with him on television in 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic prevented fans from attending in person.

She started following a YouTube channel about the team called Back of The Net, run by supporters, and was drawn in by the club’s “football family” and the underdog story of Bournemouth’s battle to avoid relegation from the Premier League.

Heather was announced as an ambassador last month after reading about Her Game Too online.

“I’ve only been a supporter for a short amount of time, but I’ve already been subjected to some inappropriate comments.

“With me, it just makes me more determined to come along and to expand my football knowledge, but I know for other women it may stop them going or joining in with discussions.

“I want as many people as possible to discover and be able to enjoy the sport and feel safe and accepted doing so.”

Heather has been focused on preparing for the club’s dedicated Her Game Too fixture on March 11 and discussions have been held over looking into a scheme to ensure women to feel safe when attending games - particularly if they usually attend alone and may prefer travelling in a group or meeting someone at the match.

“I love watching my team because it brings excitement, togetherness and a sense of community.

“I find myself chatting to all sorts of random people that I probably wouldn’t usually - the passion for our teams and the common interest in football is a wonderful leveller.”

Priyanka Jasraj, Aston Villa Ambassador: The automatic assumptions made linking football and men would infuriate me”

Football has always been an important part of Priyanka’s life, but she hasn’t always found it easy to publicise her passion for it.

“There was, and still is to some extent, a narrative of football being ‘for men’.

“You would either be labelled as a tomboy or your opinions would automatically be invalidated because of being a woman, and the assumptions made linking football and men would infuriate me.

“I decided to become a Her Game Too ambassador to help push for our space in the footballing world as women - something that should never be questioned again.”

Priyanka was born into an Aston Villa-supporting family. Her Tanzanian-born father supported them from overseas growing up and she’s been a season ticket holder since 2018 - with her highlight being the club’s promotion to the Premier League in 2019.

“Going to Villa Park is my escape. The last year has been my toughest and being in the stadium for those 90 minutes helps me to forget about everything else going on in the outside world.

“Regardless of whether we win or lose, it does it for me every time.”

Priyanka’s work with Her Game Too links in with the Aston Villa’s women’s network, Villa Bellas, which is part of the club’s Fan Consultation Group.

Samantha Harman, Bury AFC Ambassador: “I’ve had men saying ‘you only come because you fancy players’”

The last few years have been difficult times for football fans living in Samantha’s Greater Manchester town.

Bury FC were expelled from the Football League in 2019 after a takeover bid collapsed and they went into administration the following year.

Some supporters went on to form a phoenix club, Bury AFC, who now play at a different ground in the North West Counties Football League, while other fans want to see the original Bury FC resurrected at its former home, Gigg Lane.

“What has happened to Bury FC broke us as a town and a community and when Bury AFC started up, I just knew I had to volunteer and be part of this amazing journey.

“I became a Her Game Too ambassador because I believe anyone should be able to watch and play the sport they love.

“I have had comments in the past of men saying ‘you only come because you fancy players’ or ‘I bet you don’t even know the offside rule’.”

Bury AFC have a Her Game Too page in every matchday programme, a giant Her Game Too flag up in the ground and sanitary products provided for free in the ladies toilets.

The last weekend in March will be a dedicated Her Game Too weekend at the club, with a recreational ladies tournament on the Friday evening, a tournament for local girls’ teams and the men’s first team fixture on the Saturday, followed by the women’s first team fixture on the Sunday - with players promoting Her Game Too throughout.

“I’d like to see many more teams from all leagues join Her Game Too and for us to promote equality in all sports.”

Jane Jeffery, Millwall Ambassador: “One incident of sexism is too many”

Lifelong Millwall supporter Jane has been attending games since her dad started taking her along as a child, when she used to play on the terraces with her brother and friends.

She became involved with Her Game Too after being inspired by what the campaign was trying to achieve and applied for the vacant ambassador position at her club.

“I would definitely define myself as an equality activist and a proud feminist.

“I have never felt out of place or experienced sexism at football, although I am very aware it happens too frequently and one incident is too many.”

Jane is working with Millwall and its community trust to work towards promoting Her Game Too at a community day with a stall and by having the players wear Her Game Too t-shirts during the pre-match warm up.

There are also free sanitary products available around The Den.

“We have vibrant women’s and girls’ teams as well as players who promote women’s football and I genuinely feel welcomed as a Her Game Too ambassador.

“I would love to see Her Game Too become part of everyone’s football experience - the organisation should be visible in every ground, creating a welcoming atmosphere.”

Lauren Edwards, Shrewsbury Town Ambassador: “It needs to be a safe and inclusive environment where everyone’s opinion is respected”

A cup final at Wembley almost 30 years ago got Lauren hooked on football and she became a Her Game Too ambassador after Shrewsbury Town’s supporter liaison officer approached her to see if she would be interested in the role.

“I have been supporting Shrewsbury Town home and away for many years and thought it was a fabulous campaign to get involved with - supporting equality and inclusion in football is a fantastic idea and it gave me a platform to get involved with the club.

“It was an honour to be approached by the football club as well.”

Lauren has been a season ticket holder since she got her first job and just under a year ago, Shrewsbury held its first dedicated Her Game Too fixture - which coincided with the announcement of her ambassador role.

Over the past year, she has worked with the club’s supporters’ parliament and the Shrewsbury Foundation to get sanitary products provided in the ground’s toilets and posters displayed with contact details for if anyone needs to report an incident of sexism.

This year’s dedicated fixture is taking place on March 25 when Shrewsbury host Bristol Rovers.

Lauren would love to see Her Game Too continue to build momentum so all women and girls enjoy a positive experience following their club home and away.

“This needs to be in a safe and inclusive environment where everyone matters and everyone’s voice and opinion is respected.”

Amelia Armstrong, Fulham Ambassador: “I would love to see Her Game Too become a global organisation”

Amelia started going to watch Fulham when she was 11 and has been a season ticket-holder since turning 13 - with the club’s friendly fanbase and the team’s exciting, attacking football drawing her in.

Watching captain Tom Cairney lift the trophy when Fulham won the Championship play-off final in 2018 and seeing her side win the Championship in 2022 are among her highlights.

“I decided to become a Her Game Too ambassador as I wanted to help other female fans within my club have their voices heard and I wanted to help everyone feel like football is a safe and enjoyable place to be.”

Since Amelia became an ambassador a year ago, the club has held a dedicated Her Game Too fixture, which saw the players warm up in Her Game Too t-shirts, and there is now a discreet reporting system in place to report any incidents of sexism or anti-social behaviour through text message.

Amelia hopes to see more clubs worldwide join the campaign as it builds momentum.

“I would love to see Her Game Too become a global organisation to ensure sports fans all over the world feel included and welcome.

“I would also love for Her Game Too to be advertised on big broadcasters like Sky Sports and BT Sport to share our message of inclusivity.”

Hina Shafi, Luton Town Ambassador: “I would love to see more men get behind this campaign”

Hina came up against barriers when she was trying to get into football - barriers she says still exist ten years later.

“I turned my anger into action and started to work in football to try to break down these barriers as I’m passionate about making the game more inclusive and accessible to all.”

She has been supporting Luton Town from a distance since she was born but only recently started attending matches and stepped forward to become a Her Game Too ambassador.

“The focus within Luton Town is to ensure that female athletes receive fair treatment and have the same access to play football as their male team mates, as well as highlighting the different stories of the athletes and pathways in the game.”

She loves seeing fellow women and girls working for her club and paving the way for the next generation of females in football.

“I would love to see a lot more men get behind this campaign as sexism affects everyone, not just a particular gender or the individual it is aimed at.”


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page