GFF celebrates International Women’s Day with call for change
The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) is commemorating International Women’s Day (IWD) with a challenge to society to change the way it perceives and treats women, and by issuing a call for more girls and women to participate in football.
Observed on March 8 annually, IWD is an opportunity for communities to honour the social, economic, cultural, and political accomplishments of women around the world.
This year’s theme is “Choose to Challenge”, with a special focus on calling out gender bias and inequality, celebrating women’s achievements and working together to create an inclusive world.
“International Women’s Day brings awareness to the achievements of women across the globe without regard for race, religion, culture, language or anything that divides us,” said GFF Third Vice-President and attorney-at-law Thandi McAllister, adding that her wish for IWD was “a cure for misogyny”.
“Having established that the contributions of women are indeed invaluable, I’m happy that there is a day set aside for the acknowledgement and celebration of women and their everyday sacrifices, contributions and achievements in every sector,” McAllister, who serves on the Caribbean Football Union Legal Committee, said.
“Men are not the competition,” she said. “Yes, they may have set standards for the game, but not yours, for their own game. You’re entitled to play like a girl, win, lose or draw – just play.”
Andrea Johnson, President of the Guyana National Women’s Football Association, said: “One woman can make a difference, but together we can rock the world.”
“I am grateful to be a woman. I must have done something great in another life,” she said. “Feminism isn’t about making a woman stronger; women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, ‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.’”
“It is the vision that men and women should be treated equality in social, economic and all other aspects of society, and not to be discriminated against because of gender,” she added.
As part of its observance, the GFF has also produced a series of video interviews with young female footballers aimed at encouraging more girls and women to participate in the sport.
U-20 and U-17 international midfielder Shamya Daniels stars in one of the videos, which were shared on the GFF’s social media channels on Monday – a day dedicated to women’s football.
“Any sport you play – it’s not just a game that men only can play; women can go out there and prove everyone else wrong,” Daniels said. “I would like to encourage all the young girls and women out there to come out and play the sport and just enjoy it while you do it.”
This year, the Senior Women’s National Team is scheduled to take part in FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers in October and November, while the U-20 team participates in Concacaf U-20 Women’s Championship qualifiers in September and the U-17s compete in the Concacaf U-17 Women’s Championship in August. The GFF will also host its U-15 squad in a camp to prepare for regional competition next year.
Depending on the COVID-19 pandemic and approvals from the authorities, the GFF has approved the following domestic women’s football activities this year: the GFF-Always Women’s Development League, the Rupununi Women’s League, a Regional Association women’s development tournament, and Regional Association girls’ football development festivals.
The Federation is also planning a series of school pilot projects, including a U-15 tournament in West Demerara, a U-13 tournament in Upper Demerara, and U-11 and U-9 tournaments in the East Bank/Georgetown region. Once successfully completed, these tournament models would be expanded to other regions. (GFF)