From the age of 7 years old I have frequently been told that I should not be playing football because I was girl, which has made me so determined to help change the ways that some people viewed females who wanted to play football. When I left primary school in 2017, I wanted to make sure that the next generation of young girls got to play football without any barriers.
I have spoken passionately with UEFA and FIFA about the problems we face just to play football and how important it is to give girls the chance to participate in football at school. In 2021, The FA held a zoom meeting with me and we discussed my views and the barriers girls faced with getting equal access to football in schools. Months later the launch of the Let Girls Play campaign was set up by the FA and I became an Ambassador which was a great honour. The campaign has made a difference at many schools but we still have a long way to go for all schools giving girls equal access to football.
I set up Girls Play Football Day in 2018 when I was in Brazil helping the homeless and underprivileged children in charity run schools. Girls were talking to me explaining how they similarly do not get the opportunity to play football, which I thought was surprising in a country that has produced legends like Marta and Formiga. I spoke with the teaching staff about allowing the girls to have a girls play football day at school, which was a great success. Ever since, on the 8th November each year, we continue to celebrate Girls Play Football Day that has now grown around the world.
What I'm asking of people, to help spread awareness of the day, is to post a photo of any female footballers on social media on the 8th of November 2023 and use the hashtag #GirlsPlayFootballDay.
Thanks for reading and for any support you can give on the day,
Olivia Hancock BCyA