Chelsea Women's defender Anita Asante joined former captain Katie Chapman at Stamford Bridge on Monday for a young women and girls conference called Female Focus - Being the Best You.
The aim of the event for 10-14 year-old pupils from six schools was about female empowerment and finding inspiration through the selection of guest speakers from the world of sport and business.
Asante and Chapman were two of the speakers in attendance, with the players taking part in a Q&A to close the event, while others in attendance included referee Janie Frampton, Chelsea director of human resources Sara Matthews, former UK Poetry Slam winner Deanna Rodger and Irish International Rugby player and London Fire Brigade firefighter Sarah Mimnagh.
The Chelsea duo also handed out prizes for the best competition entries about ‘Being the Best You’ which included a rap, a song and poems, and Asante believes events like this are crucial to the development of young women and girls.
She said: ‘I was so happy to be invited to this female focus event to inspire girls to be their best self. To be able to give back and help girls understand what they can achieve and what they need to do to strive for their goals is a pleasure.
‘They’ve got to hear from a lot of key speakers about careers and the pathways these successful women took and it is great for them to hear about success as sometimes girls get put in to boxes about what they should do as part of the agenda norm.
‘This event has allowed them to hear that normal is whatever you define it to be and you should aim for any job or career you want as you can accomplish anything.
‘They’ve heard from a referee, a firefighter, footballers; all jobs that are traditionally male dominated but now they have a vision about what is possible.
‘For Katie and I to be a role models is important. We have more exposure now so we need to give back and show them football is a viable option if they want to pursue that.
‘I love being here to hear from these young girls and answer questions they have. Being able to give back to our fans and the community is very rewarding.’
The event was arranged as part of a week of activity prior to Monday night’s annual Game for Equality, where we will celebrate equality and diversity within our club and communities.
Our global charity partner, Plan International, were also in attendance with UK girls' rights strategy and development manager Nikki Giant hosting one of the many workshops for the 100 girls in attendance.
‘The issues we work on internationally are just as relevant to young women and girls in the UK so we are committed to working in schools or attending workshops to inspire girls, and boys, about gender equality,’ said Giant.
‘We’ve had a great morning working with the girls at Chelsea. Having the opportunity to talk about being the best you and self-empowerment is great for Plan and we were delighted to support the event.’