Today the PFA has launched the #SeeItAchieveIt campaign, a new initiative addressing the lack of diversity in the women's game.
As teams from across Europe look forward to an incredible summer of women's football, the absence of visible role models from ethnically diverse backgrounds in England’s national team has never been more apparent. There are just three Black, Asian or Mixed Heritage players in the current national side and only 29 out of 300 footballers playing in the Women's Super League (WSL).
The PFA is aiming to address this under-representation in the women's game by creating a network for current WSL players with Black, Mixed Heritage and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. Following a similar game-plan as the organisation's established Asian Inclusion Mentoring Scheme, players in the network will receive peer-to-peer mentoring, attend meetings at PFA offices and be given bespoke support from the union's Women's Football and EDI teams.
Increasing the visibility of diverse role models is one of the primary goals of the #SeeItAchieveIt campaign, and it was launched with videos featuring stories from current and former WSL players Demi Stokes, Nikita Paris and Anita Asante. The PFA also plan to hold regular networking events for the players, collate data, celebrate the achievements of WSL players from ethnically diverse backgrounds and create content that inspires the next generation of female professional footballers.
The campaign has been spearheaded by former Brighton and Hove defender, Fern Whelan, who joined the PFA the last year as the organisation's first Women's Football EDI Executive. She said, "I'm really excited to launch 'See It. Achieve It.' There is currently a real lack of representation across the WSL and England squads, and this campaign aims to celebrate current diverse role models in the women's professional game and inspire the next generation of female players from diverse backgrounds."
"I've worked closely with players across the WSL to let them know about the PFA's work addressing under-representation in all areas of the game. The players we have on board will be sharing inspiring stories about their pathways into the women's professional game and providing mentorship to aspiring female footballers. This campaign is part of our overall EDI strategy to see greater representation in all areas of the game, and our next phase will include working with former players to build a collective of inspiring role models. You can't underestimate the power of role models and the impact they can have."
Alongside the campaign, the PFA is implementing a three-year strategy to improve diversity levels within the entire women's football pyramid. This will include collaboration with other football stakeholders and expanding the project scope to include support for Black, Mixed Heritage and Minority Ethnic women in other roles within football.
Arsenal's Nikita Parris, who will be one of the role models featured in the campaign, said, "The ‘See It. Achieve It.’ campaign speaks for itself – literally! It allows young people to see the pathway they can take and really dream and believe that they can achieve it because those who have gone before them have done it."
PFA CEO, Maheta Molango added, "The ’See It. Achieve It.’ campaign is a great example of why representation in football matters. The PFA has always championed women's football, and we are proud that we can continue to help the women's game progress by celebrating the diversity of our membership and creating space for current, former and future PFA members to connect."