Chelsea Foundation

International Day of the Girl: Standing up for girls’ rights

Chelsea FC Women continue their Women’s Super League title defence against Manchester City at Kingsmeadow today – and the players will be defending girls’ rights off the pitch with global children’s charity, Plan International.

With their clash against Manchester City Women falling on International Day of the Girl 2020, Emma Hayes’s players will be showing their support for the charity’s #ListenToGirls campaign to protect girls’ safety online.

As the coronavirus pandemic forces our lives to move increasingly online, girls are at risk now more than ever. To show their backing for the campaign, the Blues squad will be warming up in Plan International’s colours ahead of this afternoon’s fixture.

One of those players will be 22-year-old Scotland International Erin Cuthbert, who recently revealed that she has been subjected to online abuse and believes more needs to be done to tackle the issue.

She said: ‘There has been a couple of occasions where I have been trolled on social media.

‘I’ve been given abuse, not on my performance – which everyone has an opinion and freedom of speech based on my performance and how I carry out my work – but no one should have an opinion based on your appearance or discrimination in any sort of way.

‘I think this issue has been raised several times. I’ve seen that people could have to put in their ID to create a social media account.

‘I think that’s the way forward if people are to be held accountable for their actions.

‘If you say something abusive to someone in person, it’s an offence so therefore it should be an offence every time you say something abusive to someone online.’

Coronavirus is putting girls’ rights at risk – from missed education and the increased threat of child marriage, to street harassment and online abuse.

Plan International spoke to 14,000 girls in 22 countries around the world and more than half have been harassed and abused on social media.

As part of the International Day of the Girl activity, the Chelsea Foundation Education team have been delivering sessions this week to help Plan International shine a light on the harassment and abuse girls and young women face online.

Our Education team delivered a session at Roehampton Primary School on Wednesday, where pupils looked at personal role models with a focus on identifying the positive qualities of a role model.

In addition, our Education team also delivered a heavily discussion-based session to our Kicks Target Girls with a focus on the consequences of Instagram and how comments can be perceived, while also touching on the challenges our Chelsea FC Women players have faced.

Now more than ever, we need to #ListenToGirls and stand with them as they speak out against gender inequality.

Find out how you can stand up for girls’ rights here.

Plan International led the campaign to establish International Day of the Girl as an annual reminder to the world that we need to stand up for girls’ rights. For more information about our global charity partnership, visit plan-uk.org/Chelsea

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