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FIFA and UNICEF launch Goals for Girls! campaign on eve of Women’s 2007 World Cup

SHANGHAI, 7 September 2007 - The fifth Women’s World Cup – which begins in China on Monday – forms the backdrop for a joint campaign between UNICEF and the global football organization, FIFA, championing the rights of girls in sport and education.

The Goals for Girls! campaign – which was officially launched at a news conference in Shanghai today – is the latest collaboration in a long-standing partnership between the two organizations designed to use the power of the world’s most popular sport to the benefit of children.

The Chairman of the Committee for Women’s Football and the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Worawi Makudi, praised a campaign which he said highlighted the need for girls to have the rights as boys in sport as in other aspects of their development.

Representing UNICEF, the Deputy Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific, Richard Bridle, said that Goals for Girls! underlined the message that there was no difference between the worth of a girl and that of a boy.

“Both boys and girls can contribute to society as they can to football,” said Bridle. “We need to reduce the opportunity gap between boys and girls.” This discrepancy was evident, he said, in the fact that of the 115 million children worldwide currently out of school, more than half are girls.

FIFA Women’s Football Ambassador, Sun Wen, who represented China in four previous Women’s World Cup tournaments, said the message of gender equity was one that should resonate in many parts of the world, not least in rural China, where the traditional preference of families for boys remains strong.

Bridle praised the progress China has made in improving the situation of women and girls over recent decades. But he pointed out that challenges remained, particularly in changing the attitudes and practices of families.

The Women's World Cup opens on Monday, when Argentina take on Germany in Shanghai.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact:
Najwa Mekki, UNICEF Media New York, +1-212-326-7162 nmekki@unicef.org
Simon Ingram, UNICEF, on assignment in China, +86 13693569639, singram@unicef.org
Li Liu, UNICEF China, + 86 1065323131-1303, liliu@unicef.org




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