Girls to get equal access to school sport after England’s Women’s Euro 2022 win
The British Government has pledged a £600 million ($710 million/€673 million) package to help ensure girls have equal access to sport.
The funding announcement coincides with International Women’s Day and comes after 23 members of England’s women’s team that won the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 title wrote a letter to the Government calling for greater accessibility for girls last August.
Currently, only 67 per cent of all schools and 41 per cent of secondary schools offer football equally to girls in PE lessons and just 46 per cent of schools provide the same extracurricular opportunities as boys, according to the English Football Association.
As part of the Government’s pledge, schools in England will be required to deliver a minimum of two hours of PE each week and ensure that girls have equal access to all school sport, including football.
The funding is set to be delivered over two academic years and include both school sport and after-school activities.
“Last year the Lionesses’ victory changed the game,”
“Young girls know when they take to the pitch that football is for them and, thanks to the Lionesses, they too could be a part of the next generation to bring it home for their country.
“We want schools to build on this legacy and give every girl the opportunity to do the same sports as boys, as well as provide a minimum of two hours of PE.
“This means every child can benefit from regular exercise and we are proud to provide them with the support needed to do so.”Said British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
FA chief executive Mark Bullingham praised England’s players for “using their voice to deliver change”.
“The magic of last summer’s Euros victory can now live on with a legacy that has the ability to change the future of women’s football and positively impact society,”
“Equal access for girls is one of the FA’s strategic ambitions and for such progress to be made is a very proud day.”Said Bullingham.
The state investment includes £22 million ($26 million/€25 million) for the School Games Organisers network over two years.
An additional £57 million ($67 million/€64 million) has also been allocated by the Government for the opening up of more school sport facilities outside of school hours.
Baroness Sue Campbell, director of women’s football for the FA, credited England captain Leah Williamson and team-mate Lotte Wubben-Moy for playing a leading role in securing the investment.
“As soon as the final whistle was blown at Wembley on 31 July 2022, the players turned their attention to what they wanted their legacy from the tournament to be and what’s been announced today is as important as anything that was achieved on the pitch in the summer,”
“The confirmation of long-term funding for the Premium and School Games Organisers, and strengthened guidance and monitoring of how that money is spent, will have a significant impact on participation but also the physical and emotional wellbeing of the nation’s children.”Said Campbell.