EDMONTON, AB – Concordia University of Edmonton played host to the only local stop on the United Nations HeForShe #GetFreeTour event in mid-September, with the Thunder Women’s Soccer program being a focal point of the event.
The HeForShe movement is promoted by the United Nations as a platform for discussion and solidarity around gender equality and allyship between males and females. Regarding this topic, the UN states “People everywhere understand and support the idea of gender equality. They know it’s not just a women’s issue, it’s a human rights issue. HeForShe is an invitation for men and people of all genders to stand in solidarity with women to create a bold, visible and united force for gender equality. The men of HeForShe aren’t on the sidelines. They’re working with women and with each other to build businesses, raise families, and give back to their communities.” For our women’s soccer team, they kicked off the campus event with a joint training session with the local men’s professional soccer club, FC Edmonton, in front of 300 students, staff, faculty, and community members.
For the Thunder Women’s Soccer team members, this was an invaluable experience. 2nd year striker Elizabeth Corothers spoke highly about the experience, stating “As a woman and an athlete, I am proud to have been apart of the HeForShe movement. This event represents the steps that are crucial to change for eliminating the gap between men and women in athletics and society as a whole.”. This sentiment was echoed by teammate Kennedy Hay saying “I am very empowered and thankful to have been given the opportunity to be apart of this special moment. I am proud that Concordia is involved in initiatives such as these that are being put in place to uplift women and student-athletes.”.
Veteran student-athletes Gabby Bayne and Megan Algeo had the opportunity to speak at a panel discussion, earning applause and appreciation for their passionate speech about how few female role models there were in sport for them growing up and how far we have come as a society, but noted there is still important work to be done. Bayne closed off stating “The idea of allyship is important to young women such as myself for a myriad of reasons; not because we need the approval of those around us in order to be successful or achieve great things in this world, but rather that we need support from the people around us in order to eliminate gender gaps and build a better society. We need to continue to challenge social norms and gender roles in our society, we need to challenge our thinking towards gender assumptions, and we should be looking at the collective good of all members of humanity in a way that is fair, equitable, and doesn’t discriminate based on traditional beliefs about what women can and cannot do.”
Keep the conversation going! Be an advocate for change, and stand together as equal partners in the achievement of gender equality around the world by signing the UN Declaration at https://www.heforshe.org/en/movement.