Women in Football is urging FIFA and the world game to create a fully gender-inclusive workplace following the launch of their new Open Doors Agenda.
WIF recently launched the six-point plan framework which calls on organisations to implement six actions in order to achieve change within their internal structures and make women feel safe at work.
CEO Yvonne Harrison revealed that the catalyst for the agenda was brought on by FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s comments ahead of the 2023 Women’s World Cup, as well as the ongoing fallout of the Spanish football federation after Luis Rubiales kissed player Jenni Hermoso on the lips following the World Cup final.
And Harrison is proud to say that WIF is leading the charge in championing the need for change.
“I feel immensely proud to be leading this women-led organisation,” she said.
“The minds and consideration that has gone into this call for action is incredible because we want change not alienation.
“On a personal level, I often feel quite nervous as a woman putting myself out there and standing for what I believe in as there are always people who don’t see it.
“You have to defend your position and I passionately believe in this and giving women the ability to feel comfortable enough to speak up about injustices at work.
“We want there to be consequences for actions, including dismissal if that is appropriate.
“This isn’t just about a slap on the wrist, this is bigger than that.”
WIF’s six-point plan includes creating independent, non-executive members and clear pathways for reporting and dealing with safeguarding issues and violations, including discrimination, abuse, and sexual harassment.
It also sets the target of at least 30 per cent of members in senior decision-making bodies to be women, after it was revealed that out of 140 members of the RFEF, only six are women – a policy WIF board member Monique Choudhuri is passionate about.
“WIF made the decision to put this framework in place because we said, ‘enough is enough’,” she said.
“We’re trying to spotlight some of the structural inequalities that are going on in football whilst backing this up with our data.
“We want women to feel safe and feel part of the conversation and this framework allows the women’s voice to be taken seriously and for the women’s voice to be in those senior roles all the time.
“We’re asking for these proposals to be mandatory. We can be one of the resources that can help organisations make this change, there is no excuse.”
WIF represents the voice of an 8,000-strong plus community and is in place to create a positive environment for women to thrive in the world of football.
Their six-point agenda is supported by the work they do empowering women with leadership courses and professional development programmes around the world.
Something WIF Chair Ebru Köksal is pleased to call the organisation’s defining factor.
“We are not only about campaigning, but we’re also about providing solutions and ways to work together,” she explained.
“Because we believe that you cannot make change happen unless you have the majority of the decision makers on your side, so we want to provide the good ideas, the good examples.
“We have 8000 members, mostly from the UK, but from all over the world and we’ve seen that an independent body like ours can sometimes be the voice for those that cannot raise their voice inside their organisations.
“So, we listened, we heard the cries, and we wanted to act on them.”