Girls are Unstoppable
Promoting women’s and girls’ empowerment and well-being to build an equal future for all children
Reducing inequality strengthens economies and builds stable, resilient societies that give all individuals –girls, boys, men, and women – the opportunity to fulfill their potential. Globally, women and girls are bearing the brunt of negative socioeconomic impacts, with unemployment rates affecting women much worse than men.
UNICEF builds partnerships to accelerate gender equality, enhances girl participation and empowerment and promotes equal access to development opportunities.
Capitalizing on the opportunity of the Women’s World Cup and Viet Nam’s first-ever participation, UNICEF Viet Nam is highlighting the power of sport to unlock the girls’ potential and make them unstoppable.
“Sport gives children a set of skills that will serve them well when they move into employment later in life. Sport shows the power of girls to get up, get involved and play at a very high standard”.
To encourage girls to get up and play, Prime Ministers of Viet Nam and Australia, the Viet Nam Women’s national football team, HANU FC Women, Ha Noi U-17 Female Football Team and UNIS Hanoi joined an event in June 2023 to promote the power of sport to change girls’ lives.
The power of sport
Women and girls are changing the face of football, and football is changing their lives. Women’s teams have broken a glass ceiling in sports, playing toward their dreams and encouraging millions of girls around the world.
The Vietnam Women’s National Football Team is showing it is possible to reach your dreams. UNICEF Viet Nam congratulates the team because winning a ticket to play at a World Cup is already an unprecedented victory!
“My dream is to be on the list to play for the 2023 World Cup”.
She got it!
Sport has the power to change children’s lives and empower them to practice sports that were traditionally meant for men – just as the Viet Nam women’s national football team won a ticket to play at the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
As a powerful tool to involve children in group activities from an early age, sport helps develop their social, learning and leadership skills.
“At school, when I had to meet deadlines or take exams, I was under a lot of stress. So, after the exams, I could go to the field and play football to release my emotions and be happier.”
Positive change and values are nurtured through the practice of sport. It improves our physical and mental health. It boosts self-esteem, confidence and builds essential skills that are key for employment later in life: strategic thinking, teamwork, confidence, contribution, learning to bounce back from defeat, respect and collaboration.
“Football has had a significant impact in my life. It makes me gain confidence, solidarity and an understanding of how to serve as a team member.”
Empowered. United. Unstoppable
Across the board, females participate in sport at a lower rate than males. It’s time to change this and get more girls in the game. Sport provides opportunities for the advancement of girls in the face of gender-related barriers, and it helps increase self-esteem among adolescent girls and boys.
“What I like the most is that I can learn more about football and there’s a space where we can share everything and try together.”
Big sport events like the Women’s World Cup remind us of the importance of sport to promote diversity and inclusion. Sport brings people together regardless of their backgrounds, genders or abilities.
Compelling evidence reflects the relationship between sport participation and social integration and social inclusion of women and girls. Sport is empowering, particularly for girls, and it challenges gender norms.
“I’ve learned a lot, from the spirit of solidarity and discipline to the desire to contribute and win. I feel happier playing football.”
Sport participation offers girls an opportunity to build their self-esteem, courage and self-efficacy. It is a place where they can take up leadership positions and through sport programs, girls' belief in their abilities increases.
“Football has significantly influenced my life. I’ve gained my confidence. I have a chance to hang out with my teammates and friends, and interact with everyone, which make my mood and spirit get better.”
Sport for development
"Sport is one of the great human pursuits – a model of teamwork, a platform for individual excellence, a driver of economic growth for all of society. "
UN Secretary-General António Guterres
75 per cent of children in Viet Nam do not meet the standards for physical exercise.
Evidence shows that physical education, sport activities and play enhance children’s physical and mental health, comprehensive development and learning; they also encourage better academic performance. UNICEF Viet Nam is promoting Sport for Development with the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) to provide children with a set of skills that will serve them well when they move into employment later in life,helping them understand the importance of physical health as well as mental health.
“Sports are becoming more relevant in schools. Everyone, especially girls, will be more exposed to sports, which will help them both physically and mentally and help reduce school stress.”
The practice of sport engages children in a productive and constructive manner; recognizes, utilizes, and enhances their strengths; and promotes positive outcomes for them by providing opportunities, fostering positive relationships, and furnishing the support needed to build on their leadership strengths.
UNICEF and MOET’s initiative Football without Limits promotes sport participation of children and young people from diverse backgrounds to unlock the power of sport for every child’s healthy development and happiness.