Everton will celebrate becoming the first Premier League club to formally support #HerGameToo at its men’s and women’s fixtures this weekend.
Sunday’s visit of Wolverhampton Wanderers is the Blues’ closest home Premier League fixture to International Women’s Day (Tuesday 8 March) and will see the Club highlight its pledge to a campaign that aims to raise awareness of sexist abuse within and around football.
Activity will also take place on Saturday to promote the link-up when Everton host Leicester City at Walton Hall Park in the FA Women’s Super League.
On Boxing Day 2021, Everton announced it had become the first top-flight team to back #HerGameToo, a move that has paved the way for the organization to establish similar ties with both Brentford and Leeds United.
#HerGameToo, Everton and the Everton Fans’ Forum have since been working together to highlight the channels for reporting discriminatory and abusive behavior in football, as well as to promote inclusion for all and the Club’s work in celebrating equality and diversity through its All Together Now initiative.
As part of its support for #HerGameToo, Everton recently collaborated with representatives of the campaign to create a survey to better understand the experiences of its female supporters watching and following football across the country.
The survey was sent directly to all female supporters on the Club’s fan database and its initial findings are due to be released later this week.
This weekend’s match activity will include #HerGameToo branding and content being visible at Goodison Park, Walton Hall Park and across Club channels. Representatives from #HerGameToo and the Club’s Fans’ Forum will also appear on Sunday’s ‘Everton Live’ pre-match show to discuss how the link-up came about and what has been achieved so far in 2022, and #HerGameToo pin badges and flags will be given away to supporters in attendance at both games.
More information on #HerGameToo’s aims and objectives will be available in the matchday programs for both fixtures, while new posters reminding supporters how to report sexist abuse at football matches will be on display.
Siobhan Doran, a member of the Everton Fans’ Forum who helped initiate the Club’s support of #HerGameToo, said: “We have been working this season with fans on our Evertonians Against Hate campaign, and #HerGameToo has been a big part of that. Everyone should be able to go to the match and feel safe and not discriminated against – because football is for everyone.
“To become the first Premier League club to pledge to #HerGameToo was fantastic, and the focus since has been on building awareness of the issue.
“We have also set up a network of supporters from the UK and abroad and those Evertonians have played a big part in generating ideas and supporting the plans so far, and they will continue to help us develop the relationship with #HerGameToo going forward.
“We are formally launching the Club’s support this weekend but it is just the beginning and I would urge anyone wanting to get involved to contact the Fans’ Forum.”
Marva Kreel, Everton’s #HerGameToo ambassador, said: “Everton have a long and important history of supporting women’s football and women in football, and this link-up is the perfect continuation of that.
“We want anyone who suffers discrimination to know exactly where they can report it and feel supported, and with the backing of a club as big as Everton, we will work to make football a safe place for everyone.”
Ben Osu, Everton’s Senior Lead for Equity and Inclusion, added: “Everton is at the forefront of making the game a safe and welcoming place for all, and we were honored last year to become the first Club to support #HerGameToo and the fantastic work they do.
“We remain committed to our dialogue with, and support of, female fans and employees and have stepped up our engagement with fans and our women’s staff network to ensure our Club is representative and inclusive.
“No person should feel like they don’t belong at Everton, or within the sport, and we’re determined to make that a reality.”
If you witness discriminatory behavior at a match or around a stadium, text HELP plus details of what you have witnessed, and where, to 84300, or email [email protected] to discreetly submit a report. You can also report incidents directly to #HerGameToo at hergametoo.co.uk/report
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.