• International Women’s Day with Childreach Nepal

    March 12th 2015. CAC monitoring and evaluation and curriculum development strategist Sophie Legros spent International Women’s Day with our partners Childreach Nepal.

    Following International Women’s Day weekend, our 74 partners have been sharing stories about their Women’s Day celebrations and the impact they are having in their communities promoting gender equality through sport. We continue to be amazed by our partners’ creativity. International Women’s Day initiatives included football matches, weekend events, multiple day tournaments involving both girls and boys teams, presentations and workshops related to gender equality awareness, and fashion shows.

    For my part, I was able to celebrate International Women’s Day at the beautiful Yangrima School with the familiar faces of last year’s participating students (you can read more about last year’s training here). After a brief discussion about why we celebrate International Women’s Day, the students selected games they wanted to play to address gender equality.

    We started the session with Circle of Friends Partners, where students yelled out various Women’s Rights – right to freedom, right to education, etc. After fun games of Old Trafford Tag and Mingle Mingle, students played Marta for Gender Equity to address ways in which women and girls are excluded from the community and solutions to increase women and girls’ participation. Having thought extensively about this issue in December, players were quick to identify various solutions that could be implemented in their community – participation in sports, awareness programs, or education. To conclude the session, we played Pairs Scrimmage, where girls and boys were paired together and had to cooperate. Overall, it was an exciting session thanks to the students’ knowledge of Sport for Social Impact and their familiarity with the games.

    The full day journey to Sindapulchowk on mountainous, bumpy roads was entirely worthwhile. Apart from the breathtaking views, it was a pleasure to see the students again and witness the strides that have been made. Students were more comfortable with the games and with expressing themselves within the group, they exhibited more confidence and I was astonished at how much their football level had increased since December, especially the girls’. Their technical skills had noticeably improved, as well as their vision of where to pass the ball, and they managed to impose themselves when playing with boys.

    One reason for this is that the boys’ team captain has taken it upon himself to train the girls. At the end of the session where both boys and girls were involved, we discussed the importance of boys also advocating for gender equality and supporting female participation in sport as part of the HeforShe campaign and movement. Boys and girls gladly took pictures to show their support for Women’s Day.

    I could not have had imagined a better way to celebrate International Women’s Day! What did you do for International Women’s Day? Tell us in the comments below.


  • CAC Launch ASK for Choice Curriculum

    March 9th 2015. Soccer is the most loved sport on earth, played by over 265 million people worldwide. In 2006, only 10% of those 265 million people were female, the dominating 90% were male. In 2014, female participation was up to 14%.

    We are motivated to help this number grow.

    In light of International Women’s Day yesterday, we are launching our new female empowerment curriculum called, “ASK for Choice”. Our curriculum as a whole addresses why there is a need for gender equality worldwide. The games we have created challenge participants to start thinking about why things are the way they are in their communities… Like, where do women wish to have more choices in their life? Do women have a voice in their community? Can women be leaders in their community? We want people to begin to question what traditions have told them about the role of women in their society.

    Where do certain ideas come from? What has kept these ideas around? And can these ideas change?

    Choice is at the core of our work. Having the freedom to make our own choices in this world is a privilege that not everyone is granted. All across the globe, women are discriminated against. For years brave women have fought for equal rights and for years we will continue to fight for a world where all human beings are treated the same. Through our ASK for Choice curriculum, we have created games to give women the tools to become active participants in their own lives, and men the tools to include women in their society as equals; recognizing that society as a whole functions better when men and women have the same opportunities.

    Each segment of the ASK for Choice curriculum, Attitudes, Skills, Knowledge and Choice, contain 5 games. Tied to each game is a fact for each of the 5 countries we chose to highlight; Brazil, USA, Rwanda, Indonesia, and India. Each game has either a positive or negative fact tied to it about women. For example, “approximately 70% of the worlds poor are women and girls” or “women reinvest 90% of their income into their families while men invest only 30 to 40%.” Often times these facts spark discussion among the participants, and it gives them the opportunity to reflect on how women are treated in their community. The facts are crucial in understanding where we are in the world in terms of gender equality as well as recognize that although we have a ways to go, we have been and can continue to move closer to gender equality. ASK for Choice will be implemented in the 26 countries we work this year and aims to impact the 3,500+ participants we work with, along with the approximately 300,000 boys and girls the participants teach and play soccer with in all of our outreach areas.

    Alongside our ASK for Choice curriculum, we have started our own HeForShe campaign. Emma Watson’s goal with the HeForShe initiative is for men to advocate, break the silence and take action for the achievement of gender equality. Since the inception of CAC in 2008, it has been our mission to encourage men across the globe to empower women to rise up for the betterment of society as a whole, and we are inspired to see someone with a major influence in today’s society bring it to the forefront of world issues. We are happy to be a part of this movement and share our HeForShe efforts with the world through our new ASK for Choice curriculum. Happy International Women’s Day!

    To the fathers, sons, and brothers out there, show your support today and everyday, by standing strong for the amazing women of this world; for you are half the sky.

    To the mothers, daughters and sisters out there, everybody deserves to have a voice and a choice in this world; lets use ours to stand up and ASK for it; for we are the other half of the sky.

    We hope you had a great International Women’s Day! Go give a woman in your life a hug!

    Watch our latest female empowerment segment from our 2014 documentary below! To support this curriculum and be in with the chance of winning a signed 1999 US Womens’s World Cup jersey go to this page.

  • An Unleashing- International Women’s Day 2015

    Staff member, Nora Dooley, writes about our continued support for International Women’s Day.

    March 6, 2015. Can a bird fly with only one wing?

    A CAC icon and personal role model oft refers to this metaphor. The most recent reference was during her speech discussing the global war on women. Dr. Judith Gates, the mother of our founder, and thousands of women like her, like my own mother, are huge parts of the equation that has enabled me to be an empowered woman. But they are only half of this equation.

    When we talk about female empowerment, what do we mean? This word empowerment, so grand, so profound, it even sounds empowered! But too few take the time to question what this term means to their own lives. I had a conversation recently with one of our participants from Mexico – he believes it should rather be an unleashing of potential, of ability that exists but is denied the freedom to fly.

    And he is a he!

    And, in other news, our founder… also a he!

    There is much talk of this #HeforShe campaign and I think we are all excited about it. But in order to properly support this movement, we have to acknowledge all the past ‘Hes’ that supported the ‘Shes’ in their lives. My father was one. My football coaches as well.

    As an organization we are supporting this campaign with all our might, as we have been working for the same cause since CAC’s inception. Football: a male-dominated sport. Sport: a male-dominated field. The world: overwhelmed by male-dominated societies. For these reasons we have been striving to work with more women but men have also dominated our fields for the past 8 years. One might think we have never prioritized female empowerment, because, well, no females in football. But, of course, the exact opposite is the reality of CAC – encouraging men to empower women, men to empower girls, boys to empower their sisters and look up to their mothers, HeforShe – this has forever been integral to our identity.

    And guess what? It’s working.

    More women are participating in our programs each year, an expectation of our partner programs, but also an objective that they believe in and work towards. In fact, we had 25.43% female participation in 2014, an incredible number in this arena. More girls are also participating in our partners’ teams and activities. And more CAC participants believe in equal opportunities for boys and girls. More. More. More.

    Sport, football, men, and women are giving more and more girls voices, so their choices can be heard. They are unleashing the capacity that has lain dormant for too long.

    Our amazing partners with the help of our curriculum and philosophy, with the help of incredible leaders in their local communities and in the worldwide sphere, are replacing the image of a falling, one-winged bird with something else, something fierce, something truly empowered.

    Happy International Women’s Day from CAC to all the members of our family, past, present, and future. We honor the women speaking out for themselves and their fellows, we honor the men stepping up for those who cannot, and we most of all honor those who have yet the opportunity to raise their voice, and ASK for Choice*.

    *Stay tuned in the coming days to learn all about our new female empowerment curriculum: ASK for Choice.  You have also recently learnt of an incredible opportunity to win a 1999 US Women’s World Cup shirt signed by the entire squad with all proceeds going to our new female empowerment curriculum and our gender equity efforts worldwide. Do you know when the next World Cup is?

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    This short film highlights our female empowerment module.

  • He for She with Isha Vidhya

    December 15, 2014. Senior Staff, Nora Dooley, shares her thoughts on our last program in India for 2014 with the Isha Foundation in Coimbatore, India.

    “Can men take care of babies?” – “YES!”

    “Can men cook and clean?” – “YES!”

    “Can men stay at home while women work?” – Another, resounding, “YES!”

    Thirty men and boys in perfect unison; they chant, “YES” for gender equality. And three women sigh and shake their heads.

    For my final program of 2014, I return to Coimbatore for the third year of our partnership with the Isha Foundation. This year sees some familiar faces from years past, but the majority of the participants are new to CAC. We have a nice mélange of teachers and students, adding depth and energy to every game and discussion.

    We do not have a nice mélange of gender.

    An easy choice by both parties – CAC and Isha – gender equity quickly became this year’s priority. Such a nice term, ‘gender equity’. Equity. Equality. But what does it mean? To you? To me?

    Many cheer for equality, but few take the time to find their personal motive for why we need to empower women and girls.

    So we play. And play and play. Marta Skills for Life. Mia Hamm Skills for Life. Who is Marta? Who is Mia Hamm?

    Powerful. Female. Role Models.

    Marta for Gender Equity: How can we get more girls on the pitch? If you score a goal, use your voice to empower your teammates – “You can do it!”, they shout. Rapinoe for Gender Equity: Four words for the ideal man: “Strong!” “Legend!” “Noble!” “Superior!” The four teams stand in four corners on the pitch, one for each word. When I call two words the groups standing in the corresponding boxes switch places as fast as possible – running, skipping, dancing, like animals, with a ball. Now four words for your ideal woman: “Beautiful!” “Gentle!” “Smart-look!” “Colorful!” We play again.

    Falcao for Gender Equity: One team has three goals to score on; the other team only has one. We play. “Is this game fair?” “No!” Suarez for Gender Equity: Three goals at each end that represent words that empower girls. The participants call out, “education!”, “employment!”, and “choice!”. Everybody must walk and if they score a goal and shout the empowering word, they can run. Perpetua for Gender Equity: What are some traditional roles for men in your community? – Driver, builder, farmer, fisherman, businessman, army, shoemaker, barber. And women? – Beauty parlor, housewife, baby-care, cooking, cleaning, nurse, stitching. When I call out a job – the players assigned that role run onto the field and play 2v2, 4v4, etc. We play.

    I ask:

    “Can men be beautiful?” – “YES!”

    “Can men take care of babies?” – “YES!”

    “I see you shaking your head, Lakshmi (a participant for all three years of CAC programs), why?”

    “Because I do not see.”

    And therein lies the rub.

    There is too often an abyss between policy and practice. Between awareness and behavior. I know unprotected sex is the leading cause of HIV, and yet? I know I am not legally allowed to hit this child with a stick when she misbehaves, and yet?

    I know I’m supposed to jump on the #femaleempowerment / #genderequality / #heforshe bandwagon… and?

    How do we bridge this daunting gap? With a ball, perhaps?

    We think so. By the end of the program it felt more like the male-dominated group actually believed in what they were saying, and the women were standing up for themselves. It is a slow, uphill trek, but probably the most important climb in the world.

    So, can men take care of babies? Can women play football?

    YES! … if that is their choice. What is yours?