Suzy Stride hopes World Cup will help level the playing field for women

Education: Secondary / Mon 16th Jun 2014 at 06:08pm

HARLOW campaigner Suzy Stride is hoping the world cup will help local children level the playing field when it comes to girls playing sport in Harlow.

Suzy joined students on the football field at Burnt Mill Academy in Harlow on Monday to take part in a PE lesson and encourage local girls to get involved in womens football. Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Harlow is a lifelong Tottenham Hotspur fan and a passionate footballer since primary school. She spent the 2010 world cup coaching football in a township in South Africa.

While England’s men suffered a setback in Manaus on Saturday night, England’s women continued their impressive form with a 3-0 win against Belarus in their world cup qualifier in Minsk.

The Football Association estimate 1.38m women and girls up and down the country play football regularly. Sport England’s Active People survey in 2011 highlighted that 275,300 adult women play some form of football in England, making women’s football the third largest team sport behind only men’s football and men’s cricket.

Harlow Town Football club is home to the West Ham Ladies team while Harlow has several other girls and women’s football teams such as Mark Hall Youth AFC Girls.

Suzy Stride said: “The world cup is a time when everyone gets excited about football. At a time when still girls have far less opportunity to play football than boys – it’s so important we do all we can to promote girls football. It’s been great to come into Burnt Mill today to see the great work they are doing. Its clear there is more we can be doing to promote Women’s football in Harlow. We know there is still a long way to go until girls have the same opportunities as guys. Football is a great sport for girls as it encourages teamwork and competitive spirit. If girls are watching England’s men in Brazil this week and think they could give it a go they should get involved in one of the local clubs. ”

Millie Hall, Aged 12, Burnt Mill Academy said: “Growing up granddad got me into sports. It’s really helpful having Suzy coming in today, it shows that its not just men who play football but women do too.”

Kristina O’Hara, Head of PE Faculty, Burnt Mill Academy: footsuzy“Its really important to promote womens football. Womens football is growing across the town but we need more female role models”

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