Everton has become the first Premier League Club to formally support #HerGameToo, which aims to raise awareness of sexist abuse within and around football.
The announcement comes on a significant day for the women’s game in the UK, as Boxing Day marks the 101st anniversary of the Dick, Kerr Ladies’ fixture at Goodison Park that attracted a crowd of more than 53,000 – the largest attendance for a women’s game in this country for more than 90 years.
Here is a BBC account of the scenes that unfolded on that day even as 14,000 fans remained locked outside the gates of Goodison. In the months that followed that historic game, women’s teams were tied up by a host of new restrictions until finally the FA banned women’s football in December 1921.
More than 100 years on - and with women’s football flourishing - Everton’s link-up with #HerGameToo is part of the Club’s award-winning ‘All Together Now’ initiative, which recently celebrated its third anniversary and aims to shine a spotlight on some of the issues women face, either being involved in, or attending football matches.
Working with supporters and representatives from #HerGameToo, the Club aims to create thought-provoking content and educational pieces championing women in football – including players, staff and fans. The campaign will also reaffirm the Club’s zero tolerance policy on harassment and any form of sexual abuse as it continues to make Goodison Park and Walton Hall Park safe environments for all supporters.
Kim Healey, Director of People, Culture and Workplace Wellbeing at Everton said: “We are delighted to be supporting Her Game Too.
“Everton has a rich history in the women’s game including hosting the famous Dick, Kerr Ladies. Fast forward 100 years and Everton is still playing a key role in women’s football, with Everton Women being the only Club in the WSL to play at a purpose-built football stadium.
“As well as backing Her Game Too campaigns as part of our All Together Now initiative, we’ll also be working with the girls and our Fans’ Forum in 2022 on a number of projects that aims to challenge and make people think about their behaviours and attitudes to women in football.”
Founded by 12 passionate female football fans, #HerGameToo, is committed to help foster an ethos in the game in which women are welcomed and respected equally.
The non-profit organisation launched to acclaim in May 2021, with a thoughtful promotional film that trended on social media in the build-up to the Emirates FA Cup Final and has gained more than 1 million views.
Lucy Ford, co-founder of #HerGameToo, said: “This is a major milestone for us and our campaign to have a Club the size of Everton supporting us. The poignant date of the announcement is also special to us as on this day 101 years ago Goodison Park played host to one of the most seminal women’s games in history.
“Everton and the Premier League has a global following and this collaboration gives us a larger platform to help us tackle some of the wider issues of sexism in the game. Having Everton on board just adds to the rich tapestry of clubs we have backing us and we’ve been grateful for the support of all the professional and non-league clubs that have come on-board so far.
“We’ve heard from our colleague and Evertonian, Marva Kreel about Everton’s strong reputation for anti-discrimination work through their ‘All Together Now’ campaign and we were delighted when the Everton Fans’ Forum first approached us to share what they’ve been doing to oppose all forms of discrimination in football. We’re now looking forward to working with Everton and its supporters to create some thoughtful content with the club and fans.”
Everton’s backing for #HerGameToo follows the Club’s pledge to #GetOnSide – a campaign launched by Women in Football to encourage fans, clubs and organisations to actively promote change when it comes to gender equality.
Everton Fans’ Forum member Siobhan Doran, helped facilitate the conversations between the Club and #HerGameToo after being contacted by a fellow Evertonian. She added: “This is a fantastic collaboration and I’m excited about what is to come. The Fans’ Forum has been working with supporters and supporters’ groups this season to shine a light on the fact that Evertonians stand against any form of discrimination. The conversation with HerGameToo came about after one of our supporters responded to our Evertonians Against Hate campaign.
“I’m now looking forward to working with supporters, on behalf of the Fans’ Forum, who want to not only share their experiences at home and away matches but also contribute to ideas as part of the innovative campaign with HerGameToo and the Club”.
To find out more about #HerGameToo click here.
#HerGameToo can also be found on Twitter and Instagram using the @HerGameToo handle, as well as on Facebook as ‘Her Game Too’.