Group photo with local schoolchildren at Old Trafford.

United host International Women's Day event

As part of our work to mark International Women’s Day 2020, Manchester United 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, which was staged in partnership with the Manchester United Foundation, included keynote speeches from Rishi Jain, the club’s Equality & Inclusion Manager, while our Brand Digital Strategist, Julie Ferguson, shared her experiences as a female in the world of football.

Afterwards, the Year 8 and 9 pupils from Stretford High School took part in six break-out sessions which were led by members of staff, some from the club’s Women’s Network, and looked at the role of females in different football sectors, including: psychology, gender perception, media training, design, sponsorship sales and project management.

All activity in this area falls within the club’s #allredallequal campaign, which encompasses everything Manchester United is doing in relation to equality, diversity and inclusion - both internally and externally.
Speaking during the event, Julie explained that she sees days like these as a way to empower younger people and change perceptions in the world of football.

“Everyone assumes playing and coaching are the main two areas of work in football, but there are so many more and I think it’s useful for younger people to get that insight,”
she told us.

“It’s really important that we have females who can share their journeys and experiences and share some of the challenges they’ve had along the way, so we can empower a new generation of kids to believe in themselves and believe that they can strive for more.”


In attendance at the event were young girls and boys, and Julie believes it’s vital to educate the next generation of both females and males.

“I think International Women’s Day, in general, is just a really good day for us to raise messages of inspiration and empowerment, whether that’s in girls or boys,”
she said.
 
“In the room today, we have the next generation of young boys who will go on to have careers, and we want them to empower women in the workplace and provide equality.

“I think the younger generation of boys being aware of International Women’s Day and the challenges women have had in their careers is really important because they’ll take those messages forward in the environments they end up working in, and they’ll understand that females are equal.

“We’ve made huge strides in the UK in the last four or five years in terms of women’s football,”
Julie added.
“I think where we are now, even compared with seven or eight years ago, is night and day, but we’re still at the beginning of the journey.

Julie Ferguson speaks during International Women's Day.
Brand Digital Strategist, Julie Ferguson, spoke to students about her experiences in the world of football.

Alicia Lowry, Assistant Head of Year 8 was one of the teachers that attended from Stretford High School and thought the experience was hugely beneficial for the students.

“The big take-away from today is about how important equality is and that how you look or where you’re from doesn’t stop you achieving anything,” she said.

“I think that there’s such diversity in our school and to bring them altogether and give a message that it doesn’t matter about your background, you can do anything, is so important.

“It’s so important for girls to know that they can come in and succeed, but also for the boys to see there are jobs for women in football. One of the students was speaking about how women can be really involved in football and he didn’t know that. He wasn’t being rude, he just didn’t think of it. So, sitting down with six women who work for United, is eye-opening for them.”

Phil Lynch speaks to pupils during the event.
Media Chief Executive Officer, Phil Lynch, rounded the day off by hosting a Q&A session.

WHAT THE KIDS HAD TO SAY

After the workshops, Phil Lynch, Media Chief Executive Officer, hosted a Q&A session with the pupils, before they were asked what information they had learned from the day. Here are some of the responses…

“Don’t let your voice go unheard.”

“Women can do almost any jobs that we think are just for men.”

“You can achieve anything if you put your mind to it.”

 “I learnt that there are more women in football than I expected.”

“Today made me feel inspired and interested to see what jobs are in Man United.”

“I feel different about my future career.”

“I feel a lot stronger and, as a team, women can be a lot stronger. Equality.”

Click here to learn more about our #allredallequal campaign.

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