Promotional graphic for Manchester United's EMPOWERED campaign for International Women's Day

United celebrate International Women’s Day

Sunday 08 March 2020 09:30

To mark International Women’s Day, Manchester United have launched EMPOWERED, a campaign designed to inspire everyone in the United family.

It features messages from Manchester United Women players in a powerful video and exclusive photography. Themes such as happiness, belief, commitment and the need for mental strength are highlighted.

This campaign is the latest chapter of the club’s #allredallequal equality, diversity and inclusion programme. It follows the high-profile anti-discrimination video HATRED and the recent initiative designed to highlight the importance of language around mental health – IGNORED. 

The players’ messages featured in EMPOWERED were in response to a simple question which the club posed them – if you had to tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?

Watch the club's EMPOWERED video to mark International Women's Day 2020

Katie Zelem spoke about her experience as a young player: “The opposition manager would say ‘don’t worry we’ll beat these because they’ve got a girl.’ My team-mates used to stick up for me but it didn’t matter, because I knew I was better than them.”

Jackie Groenen focused on decision-making and having faith in making the right choices: “I’ve always made my decisions by heart. Sometimes people ask ‘why are you making this decision right now?’ I think it’s having that patience and confidence to make the right choices.”

And while Lauren James is one of the younger players in the team, her words were both mature and powerful. She said: “Be true to yourself, be you. Learn from those around you, every day is an opportunity to learn. They said this was a ‘man’s game’ but, it’s not just about talent. The mental strength and determination of a woman is hard to beat, especially those with a point to prove.”

The campaign launch follows Manchester United Women’s recent collaboration with MAMMA MIA!, the hit West End musical. In reciprocal visits, head coach Casey Stoney recently met up with MAMMA MIA!'s leading lady Mazz Murray to discuss their roles, the close crossover between sport and entertainment and the importance of empowering fellow women. Look out for an exclusive behind-the-scenes programme on this fascinating link-up on MUTV on Wednesday night.

Earlier this week, United also hosted an event for young people to hear from a range of women working at the club, with the experience designed to stimulate thinking about employability pathways and raise awareness of the diversity of roles in football. The event was staged by the club’s Women’s Network in partnership with the Manchester United Foundation and involved pupils from Year 8 and 9 from Stretford High School.

Fans interested in engaging with our EMPOWERED campaign on social media can use #allredallequal.