Gillingham FC is proud to show its support to the Women in Football initiativeGillingham Football Club is pleased to work alongside Women in Football to tackle sexist abuse in the game.
As today marks the United Nationals International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women, Gillingham FC wants to re-affirm its long standing commitment to addressing issues of prejudice and discrimination based on a person’s sex or gender.
Gillingham FC works with organisations like Women in Football and Kick It Out to encourage greater understanding on the issue of sexism. Women in Football are actively logging complaints which can be reported anonymously to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Women in Football also provide advice and support for complainants. Alongside this method, fans can always log any issues with the Kick It Out reporting app which can be downloaded via the App store and Google Chrome.
Besides ensuring fans are aware of the ways to report prejudice and discrimination, Gillingham FC are proud to make members of the local community and beyond aware of the work we’re doing to make football a fun, accessible and encouraging environment for girls and women, on the pitch and off it.
Alongside several members of club staff Gillingham FC has a total of seven girls and women’s teams extending from our Under 9s to our Senior Side who play their FA Women’s Premier League fixtures at Priestfield Stadium, the home of Kent football, whether you’re a male or female player.
Besides our excellent senior sides and outstanding Centre of Excellence, who work side by side to provide the only clear player pathway within the county, Gillingham FC also provides a Girls Football Academy. Gillingham FC offer female footballers aged 16-19 the chance to further their education, completing a BTEC whilst playing for Gillingham Football Club’s Girls Academy in partnership with Bexley College.
This unique two year scholarship provides the young female footballers the chance to train throughout the week with FA qualified coaches at the first team training ground at Beechings Cross in Gillingham, represent Gillingham FC in organised fixtures and study towards a BTEC Level 3, Extended Diploma in sport, which is equivalent of 3 A Levels.
Gillingham Ladies FC and our Girls Academy are fully aware of the responsibility that comes with being Kent’s leading women’s football club and as such at the heart of our elite playing structure is a firm commitment to supporting the local community and grass roots football landscape.
To help inspire the next generation of young players, the club encourages young girls’ teams to apply to be mascots at Gillingham Ladies fixtures. Senior players also attend local tournaments, fundraisers and events to engage with young players and inspire them to keep playing football.
In addition, Gillingham FC uses its position as the only football league club in Kent to take part in the hugely successful Football League Trust: Female Football Development programme.
In partnership with The Football League Trust, The FA and the Premier League, participation in Female Football has increased by over 20,000 in the last year and Gillingham Football Club’s Community Trust has supported their efforts.
Gillingham Community Trust currently delivers eight one hour sessions a week for 10 weeks at each school, seeing a minimum of 15 girls per session.
At some schools the interest from girls requires extra coaches to cope with the volume of participants. The programme is making such an impact that girls from one particular school have asked to extend their session to 75 minutes because “it’s so much fun.”
The Community Trust and Kent FA help each participant to make a smooth transition into continuing their new found love for football after the 10 week programme by providing details and contacts of local grassroots teams and encouraging and supporting schools and clubs to continue the training programmes.
The Trust also hosts the Girls Community Cup besides other events to support schools and local colleges in their endeavours to facilitate football provision for their students.
Gillingham FC Chairman Paul Scally echoed the sentiments of Women in Football; “Gillingham FC wholeheartedly supports the efforts of Women in Football to raise awareness about sexist abuse in football and work to tackle prejudice. As the only Football League club in Kent, Gillingham FC takes responsibility in leading work to make football as accessible, fun and welcoming for everyone.”
“We’ve a firm commitment to facilitating opportunities for girls and women, whether players, coaches, employees or volunteers.
"There is a lot of work planned for the future and to build on and we will work alongside organisations like Women in Football and Kick It Out to demonstrate our firm commitment to equal opportunities and making the game a fair one in every aspect.”
Whilst there is lots still to do to support Women in Football’s work to tackle discrimination and prejudice, there are plenty of inspirational females in football and at Gillingham Football Club who hope to continue to break down barriers to encourage more people, whatever their gender, race, sexuality or background to enjoy football.