Women in Football has launched #WhatIf, a new campaign aiming to change the landscape for women working in the football industry.
Sponsored by Betfair and supported by Synergy, #WhatIf is a social media campaign that hopes to challenge businesses, celebrities and members of the public to identify one way that they could take action to contribute to an improvement for women and girls within the football industry.
A number of high profile businesses made commitments to launch the campaign on Wednesday, and are now challenging everyone to make a practical pledge of support that will help change the landscape forever.
The campaign was borne out of a pro bono competition Synergy launched to support grassroots women’s sports charities.
Anna Kessel, co-founder and chair of Women in Football, said: “On the anniversary of Women in Football’s tenth season I am extremely proud to see us launch the #WhatIf campaign, standing alongside industry leaders, corporations and individuals, working together to create real and meaningful change.
“Ten years ago gender equality was barely even a conversation in football. Now it is firmly on the agenda. Bring on the next 10 years, and an exciting new era for women in our sector.”
Jacqui Oatley MBE, Women in Football ambassador, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be involved with the launch of the #WhatIf campaign. Over the past decade, we’ve had so many people in the game supporting WiF and wishing us well, and this is an opportunity to turn those good wishes into actions.”
A spokesperson for Betfair, headline sponsor of the #WhatIf campaign, added: “We worked closely with Women in Football on our #FairerGame initiative with Rachel Yankey - aimed at addressing gender disparities within football - and we are delighted to be partnering with them again and on such a powerful and inspiring campaign.
“Fairer Game was all about removing barriers and increasing the profile of women working within the game and the #WhatIf campaign takes that mission to the next level.”
Carsten Thode, Synergy CSO, added: “We are totally blown away by the response to the #WhatIf campaign, so a huge thank you to everyone who has already made their brilliant #WhatIf pledges.
“The key insight for the campaign is that if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem so everyone has a personal responsibility to do whatever they can to make things better. It is not enough to just allow or enable women’s football to exist, you have to actively promote to make lasting change.
“Last year, Synergy made its own pledge to create 3 pro bono campaigns for brands or rightsholders to promote women’s sport and we’ll be doing the same this year. Now we issue the challenge to others in our space and beyond, what’s your #WhatIf?”
Pledges already confirmed include:
Synergy - #WhatIf Synergy pledged to create one pro-bono campaign per year for the next three years to promote women's football.
Betfair - #WhatIf Betfair ring-fenced 50% of its Cash4Clubs grassroots grants for women’s teams to help support their growth and sustainability
Sky Sports – #WhatIf Sky Sports committed to including female talent as studio pundits on Gillette Soccer Specials from the 2018/19 season onwards
Twitter - #WhatIf Women in Football had its own emojil on Twitter to raise the visibility of women working in the industry, and celebrate their achievements
Forza Football - #WhatIf Forza Football made live score updates and results for women’s football games easily accessible across the world
Football Manager - #WhatIf there were more female staff members in Football Manager 2019?
The Football Business Academy - #WhatIF The FBA offered 50% scholarships to help build the future female leaders of the industry?
Spencer Stuart - #WhatIf Spencer Stuart ensure that 30% of candidates on all searches undertaken in football were women?
Barclays - #WhatIf Barclays conducted a full scale research project to understand the position of women in the football industry?