UN Women Collaborates with Professional Sports Team for the First Time

Photo from unwomen.org

Photo from unwomen.org

On May 26, 2015, the UN Women announced at the New York City headquarters that they are officially collaborating with the Valencia Club de Futbol in order to engage men and boys in talks of gender equality. This is the first time that UN women will have a global partnership with any professional sports team.

According to the press release from UN Women, Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka stated: “UN Women is dedicated to bringing more men and boys into the gender equality conversation. Valencia’s players are strong role models who will lead by example and inspire their vast fan base. We are excited to have Valencia show its support during every match played, with the cause prominently displayed to fans and viewers around the world.”

Valencia Club de Futbol is a prestigious and well-known club that has been in existence since 1919. It is a Spanish soccer club based in Valencia, Spain, which is the third largest city in the country. The Valencia Club participates in La Liga, which translates in English to “The League”. La Liga is the top professional soccer division in the entire Spanish soccer league.

By having UN Women displayed on Valencia Club’s jerseys, and their participation in La Liga, the message of gender equality is guaranteed exposure. Valencia Club plays across all of Europe and the United States. With an incredible fan base, the UN Women logo cannot go unnoticed. Valencia CF’s fan base was actually awarded the “Jugador 12” award this year by La Liga. The “Jugador 12” award celebrates the best team fan base out of the 20 teams that participate in La Liga.

Partnership with a men’s sports team is a monumental step towards encouraging men and boys across the globe to support gender equality. This partnership mirrors messages that organizations like HeForShe, who’s mission statement is: “I am one of billions of men who believe equality for women is a basic human right that benefits us all. I commit to taking action against gender discrimination and violence in order to build a more just and equal world.” You can pledge for HeForShe here.

Soccer, or football, is considered the most played and watched sport in the world, with an estimated 3.5 billion or more viewers. It is also a popular sport across all class systems and cultures.  And with the notably and current popularity of Valencia CF, this partnership will directly implement UN Women’s desire to include and reach out to men from all backgrounds. The UN Women symbol will be dashed across sport networks and social media everywhere.

As UN Women and organizations like HeForShe continue to gain momentum and make headlines, such as having figures like Emma Watson involved, and now a huge international sports partnership, gender equality slowly becomes a household conversation instead of a solely a political movement.

First-time Chairwoman of Valencia Club de Futbol stated at the kick-off: “We are honored to work alongside UN Women and the global community to support and bring awareness to such a remarkable cause. This is a long-term commitment to really help make a difference to expand advocacy efforts towards gender equality. It’s not only a woman’s issue, it’s a human rights issue that Valencia CF strongly believes in.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: AMY VAUGHN9d54e19e059511e2a62d1231380fd04a_7

As a Montclair State University graduate with a BA in English, my first love is writing, specifically nonfiction and short stories. International human rights and women’s rights are also strong passions of mine. I hope to someday be able to call myself Chief Editor, human rights advocate, and jewelry designer. I can’t live without Mad Men (er, Netflix), soy chai lattes, or my adorable Wheaten terrier, Pippin. 

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