Only 40% of schools in the UK offer girls the same access to football as boys

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  • An entire generation of girls has been inspired by the lionesses, but will they be offered the same opportunities as the boys?

    The lionesses took home the football last Sunday, inspire women on and off the pitch.

    Winning 2-1 against Germany in extra-time, the most heartwarming part of the entire tournament – bare Chloe Kelly’s iconic topless celebration of the winning goal – is all young girls were encouraged to try more sports.

    While it is definitely the representation that women’s football needs – the final set an all-time attendance record – that needs to be made clearer. Yesterday MP Nadia Whittome told us that, according to the FA, only 63% of schools offer girls football in PE lessons and only 40% offer girls regular extracurricular football.

    It is perhaps not surprising that the gap between men’s and women’s football is similar in schools and that girls are not offered the same opportunities as their male counterparts. That said, it has to change.

    Football personality Ian Wright has driven the message home further, says under BBC Sports reporting: “If girls don’t get to play football in their sport – just like the boys can – what do we do?”

    He continued: “We have to make sure they can play and have the opportunity to do so.”

    While only 40% of secondary schools in the UK offer girls the same access to football through extracurricular clubs as boys, is also the difference between primary and secondary school. FA figures show that 72% of girls play as much football as boys in primary school, but this figure drops to 44% by the time they reach secondary school.

    Already in 2020, the FA set a new goal, Inspiring positive change. The goal in 2024 is for all girls of primary school age to have equal access to football at school and in the clubs.

    The FA says that “on a practical level, this means embedding football for girls in schools, as part of the physical education curriculum and in after-school activities.”

    By 2024, the FA hopes that “90% of schools (primary and secondary) in England will be part of the FA Girls’ Football School Partnerships network”. “A national football program specifically for teenage girls rolled out across England” including “over 1,000 clubs across England providing a complete pathway1 for girls”. Most importantly, “the delivery of the women’s club training program across the country”.

    Here’s to all the little girls who watch the Lionesses, have a team to play for and don’t lose momentum.

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