Inspiring A Generation?

In an urgent effort to help secure the legacy of the Lionesses and drive participation and engagement in women’s football, Football Beyond Borders has launched an urgent GoFundMe drive to ensure a generation of teenage girls aren’t left behind. 

Despite the Lionesses' historic 2022 UEFA Women's Euro victory last summer, two in three teenage girls still can't name any of the England women's football team, according to a landmark report published by Football Beyond Borders and Youth Beyond Borders today.

With 100 days to go before the Women’s World Cup starts in Australia and New Zealand, one in four teenage girls still never watch women's football and only 17% are part of a club, according to the numbers surveyed.

The report has found that last summer's victory has had little effect on inner-city teenage girls' engagement with women's football, and campaigners are now urging the UK Government and football governing bodies to take decisive action to rescue the legacy of the Lionesses' 2022 Euros victory.

The report found that:

  • 63% of teenage girls still can’t name any of the Lionesses. 
  • 10% of teenage girls never watch men’s football, but this rises to 25% for the women’s game
  • 67% of teenage girls don’t follow any women’s football players on social media 
  • 69% of teenage girls haven’t purchased anything football related since the Euros
  • 51% of teenage girls who don’t currently play football video games are interested in playing them. 

The report was launched at an event last week with Karen Carney, Alex Scott, Rachel Yankey and Flo Lloyd-Hughes in attendance.

Alex Scott said: “Now in women’s football people think it’s great. It’s fully professional. They think about the Lionesses. This research shows that there’s still so much work to do. There’s a disconnect and improvements we need to make” 

Maria, 17, who was interviewed during the research said: “The lack of diversity in the Lionesses is something that plays on my mind. Only having three Lionesses of colour in the team was disheartening to see as there wasn’t much representation of me and my black friends who love football. I hope to see more diversity in games and I hope the next generation feel more inclined to kick a ball.” 

Samerah, 16, who was interviewed during the research said: “My relationship with football depends and relies on my friends. When I’m surrounded by constant support I’m motivated because being with them gives me purpose, even if we’re not constantly playing.”

This research has found the nation could fall short on delivering on the legacy of the Lionesses and the objectives outlined by Baroness Sue Campbell and The FA in advance of last year’s UEFA Women’s Euro. 

Football Beyond Borders’ recommendations include calls to:

  • Hero women’s football culture through powerful storytelling from the perspective of teenage girls who aren’t represented in mainstream coverage. 
  • Hijack men’s football culture and work with male role models to lead campaigns aimed at behaviour change in boys.
  • Support women to take up space in mainstream culture by elevating more representative leaders within women’s football.

Ceylon Hickman, FBB’s Head of Brand said: “We need to elevate girls' voices and centre them permanently. We need to do that work quickly and boldly and take up space in men’s culture, to push the women’s football world so that people have to stand up and take note.”

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