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UNICEF conducts “EmPower Girls” Football Cup in support of girls’ rights

Kyiv, 12 October 2017 – The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Ukraine with the support of the Government of Germany through KfW Development Bank and together with the Federation of Football of Ukraine conducted “EmPower Girls” Football Cup on October 11 in Kyiv on the International Day of the Girl Child. The tournament was attended by 80 girls aged 11 to 13 from different regions of Ukraine, including those affected by the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.

The International Day of the Girl Child was announced by the United Nations in 2012 to attract the attention of society around the world to the social problems and gender inequalities experienced by girls through social attitudes to women and girls. In 2017, the International Day of the Girl Child is dedicated to the development of girls' life skills in emergencies – conflicts, disasters, epidemics, outbreaks of violence, etc.

"In the context of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, which forced more than 1.5 million people to leave their homes, it is especially important to support girls, help them to gain the most vital life skills and self-confidence. UNICEF advocates for equal rights for every child. Therefore, it is crucial for both girls and boys to have equal rights and opportunities in society, so that they can independently choose their favourite occupations and fulfill their dreams. “EmPower Girls” Football Cup is an inspirational example proving that everyone, regardless of sex, has equal opportunities for sports, and also a great opportunity for girls from all over Ukraine to demonstrate mutual respect, team spirit and mutual support to each other – the values ​​that are very important in our lives,” said Laura Bill, Deputy UNICEF Representative in Ukraine.

“This tournament is the common victory of all teams. Girls came from various cities of Ukraine to enjoy playing football, a game that is accessible and unites everyone – adults and children, girls and boys. The main national sports arena “Olimpiiskyi Stadium” is next door. I am sure that in several years the girls will play there with the best national teams from all over the world. I especially thank the coaches of the girls, because they not only invest their time, energy and effort, but also their spirit in the girls. I wish fair play and new victories, happy smiles and positive emotions to young athletes,” highlighted Ihor Zhdanov, Minister for Youth and Sports of Ukraine.

“Government of Germany is happy to support this unique project. Girls who play football are an example for other girls, boys and society as a whole. It reaffirms that everyone has the opportunity to seek and fulfil oneself in different areas of life. The skills of taking the lead in football will help girls to develop leadership and activism in their future everyday life,” said Tobias Schrader, Head of Cooperation at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany to Ukraine.

One of the main objectives of “EmPower Girls” Football Cup is to counter social stereotypes about boys’ and girls’ sports. Girls who play football prove that they can independently engage into something they really like rather than select their preferred activities based on their sex. Also, “EmPower” Girls Football Cup is a platform for meeting, communication and exchange of ideas between girls from different parts of Ukraine.

“The girls should enjoy equal rights with boys. It is fantastic that they fulfil their potential, especially through sports activities. The sport gives inspiration, invigoration, and teaches how to play in teams,” underlined Roman Hreba, Deputy Minister for Education and Science of Ukraine.

“This Cup was a wonderful idea. We do hope that we will have more and more initiatives and activities of this kind as the years come,” Vadym Stetsenko, Head of the Committee of Physical Education and Sports of the Ministry of Education and Science, underlined.

“It is vitally important that all children are able to do sports and grow strong and healthy. Football is the most popular sport among both boys and girls. It promotes the teamwork, helps to strike a happy medium and make new friends. The experience that the Federation of Football of Ukraine earned while conducting such tournaments, including in partnership with UNICEF, proves that football is an efficient tool to bridge even the smallest gaps and inequalities. Football competitions and festivities help the girls of the families displaced from Crimea and Donbas to get adapted to the new environment and get along with other children in school and sports grounds. UNICEF Football Cup that we organized in spring 2017 was a particular success. It gathered 5,000 children from Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhia, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions. Every team taking part in the Cup was to have at least six girls. The girls are also actively engaged into Open Football classes that the Federation of Football rolls out annually all over Ukraine. “EmPower Girls” Football Cup is a fantastic opportunity which will also help to promote sports among young people and contribute to the advancement of equal opportunities for all children in Ukraine,” stated Andrii Pavelko, the President of the Federation of Football of Ukraine.

The objective of “EmPower Girls” Football Cup is to show girls, boys and society at large that everyone has equal opportunities and rights and can fulfil themselves in a wide variety of areas, including sports, regardless of sex. In addition, the skills to take the lead and fight for a victory while playing football help the girls to form the basis for leadership and activism. And the experience of teamplay, mutual support and collaboration with teammates is very useful for development of their social skills.

Indeed, according to the results of survey conducted by U-Report, 23.2% girls are less focused to make career in research and technology specifically because of the lack of self-confidence. Moreover, these are also the pressure from parents (19% girls) and peer pressure (15.2%) that prevents the girls from pursuing such careers. Thus, it is combatting professional gender stereotypes that can encourage girls to fulfil their potential in male-dominated professions. 48% girls are positive about it.



UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with its partners, UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to translate this commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit:

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For more information, please contact:
Nina Sorokopud, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Ukraine, +38 050 388 29 51,

About KfW Development Bank

KfW Development Bank is a branch of KfW Bankengruppe, Germany’y promotional bank. KfW was established in 1948 as a public law institution. The capital is held by the Federal Government and Federal States ("Länder"). KfW Development Bank finances projects in more than 70 countries on behalf of the German Government. For more information visit www.kfw‐



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