Everton has become the first Premier League club to pledge its support to the #HerGameToo campaign, which seeks to raise awareness towards sexist abuse in football.
The campaign was launched in May 2021 by 12 female supporters and aims to bring attention to sexism, harassment and other forms of abuse. It hopes to help create an ethos whereby women are welcomed and treated equally.
Everton announced their commitment to the cause on Boxing Day –– coinciding with the 101st anniversary of the Dick, Kerr Ladies’ fixture at Goodison Park, that attracted more than 53,000 fans –– the largest attendance for a women’s game in the UK for more than 90 years.
The Dick, Kerr ladies were made up of 11 factory workers from Preston and went on to become international celebrities and the biggest draw in world football.
However, on December 5th 1921, the FA claimed football was unsuitable for women. It called for clubs belonging to the associations “to refuse the use of their grounds for such matches.” This changed the course of women’s football forever.
Everton have re-affirmed their commitment to making Goodison Park and Walton Hall Park safe environments for supporters, including a zero-tolerance policy on sexual abuse and harassment.
Kim Healey, director of People, Culture and Workplace Wellbeing at Everton, said in a statement: “We are delighted to be supporting Her Game Too. Everton is still playing a key role in women’s football, with Everton Women being the only club in the WSL to play at a purpose-built football stadium.
“As well as backing Her Game Too campaigns as part of our All Together Now initiative, we’ll also be working with the girls and our Fans’ Forum in 2022 on a number of projects that aims to challenge and make people think about their behaviours and attitudes to women in football.”
Lucy Ford, the co-founder of #HerGameToo, echoed this message and added: “This is a major milestone for us and our campaign to have a club the size of Everton supporting us.
“Everton and the Premier League has a global following and this collaboration gives us a larger platform to help us tackle some of the wider issues of sexism in the game.
“Having Everton on board just adds to the rich tapestry of clubs we have backing us and we’ve been grateful for the support of all the professional and non-league clubs that have come on board so far.
“We’re now looking forward to working with Everton and its supporters to create some thoughtful content with the club and fans.”
Everton’s women’s side has endured a tough season so far in the Women’s Super League.
After finishing fifth last year, the club currently sits ninth in the table, having won only three of their 11 games.
The league is currently on standstill over the Christmas period, but the Toffees face an away trip to Aston Villa when the season does resume on Saturday, January 8th.