Turkish women football players celebrate the power of sports

Date: Friday, June 3, 2016

Turkish women football players celebrate the power of sports. Photo: Girls on the Field
The winners of the Turkish private amateur Women's Football Tournament. Photo: Girls on the Field

Turkish amateur women football players gathered for the 4th annual private Women’s Football Tournament, Girls on the Field, which took place under the HeForShe banner this year. 40 amateur women’s teams competed in the tournament while men supporters cheered from the tribunes.

Turkish women football players celebrate the power of sports Photo: UN Women /Sinem Aydin
Mert Firat, Turkish actor supports HeForShe campaign. Photo: UN Women/Sinem Aydin

At the tournament, famous Turkish actor Mert Firat declared his support for the HeForShe campaign. Pointing out that gender stereotypes in sports remain inflicted in the Turkish culture, Fırat emphasized the importance of advancing gender equality to be able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. He stressed that gender equality is not a women’s issue and that women and men need to stand together and take action to create a gender equal world.

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Football players support HeForShe campaign. Photo:Girls on the Field

HeForShe is UN Women’s global solidarity movement for gender equality that invites people around the world to stand together for gender equality. During the tournament, both women on the field and men at the tribune spoke out against gender inequality and committed to take action online as HeForShes.

Sports, especially football, have traditionally been seen a male game and dominated by men and boys. Girls on the Field aims to empower women through team spirit and inspires stories of transformation on the field.

Speaking about how playing football empowers her, one of the football players Ayca said, “It has a kind of domino effect. The more you accomplish, the more you feel powerful. And the more you feel empowered, the easier it is to reach your goals.”

Turkish women football players celebrate the power of sports. Photo: Girls on the field
Gulsum, a football player joined the tournament. Photo: Girls on the Field

“The team spirit, sisterhood, friendship, leadership that we feel with Girls on the Field is incredible. My definite target is to shout out loudly, that women can achieve anything they want in every walk of life. I want to spread that spirit out, and I want to fight for a better world,” said Gulsum, another football player that joined the tournament.

Sports is a powerful tool for the empowerment of women and an important vehicle for achieving gender equality. Women and girls who play sports break gender stereotypes, improve their self-esteem, and develop leadership skills and strategical thinking.

Turkish women football players celebrate the power of sports . Photo:Girls on the field
40 amateur women’s teams competed in the tournament. Photo: Girls on the Field

Every year, Girls on the Field raises funds though ticket revenues for civil society organizations. This year, ticket revenues were donated to Mother Child Education Foundation’s (ACEV) Father Support Programme, which is funded by the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, and which has a simple, yet life-changing aim: to prevent domestic violence against women and girls in Turkey by engaging men in a comprehensive and community-based prevention programme.