Scoring goals for gender equality at the Global Goals World Cup

Date: Thursday, September 21, 2017

Participants in the Global Goals World Cup high-five. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown
Participants in the Global Goals World Cup high-five. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

Balls were flying high and goals were scored for gender equality across the river from the United Nations, as the Global Goals World Cup took place on 19 September in Brooklyn, New York, to raise awareness on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Women from all over the world have come here today to make the world a better place by using the power of sport to raise awareness on the SDGs,” Crown Princess Mary of Denmark said at the opening of the tournament, adding, “Sport has the power to change the world.”

One of the participating teams was the SDG5 Dream Team, a team composed of strong gender equality activists working towards changing the realities of women in their countries, each of them nominated by a high-level personality. Dina Smailova from Kazakhstan, who was nominated by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, played to raise awareness on sexual violence. A survivor of gang rape, with support from UN Women, she has consulted, guided and supported 200 women survivors in Kazakhstan and was instrumental in winning seven sexual violence cases just in the past year. Speaking at the event, Ms. Smailova encouraged women around the world to speak out and share their stories. “Don’t be silent, and you will be helped,” she said.

Sport, especially team sport, can be a powerful tool to empower women and girls. Danish activist Emma Holton, a survivor of revenge porn, said, “Teams teach us that we don’t have to be always competing against each other; that solving problems together is actually the way to solve them.”

Members of the Global Goals World Cup SDG 5 Dream Team. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown
Members of the Global Goals World Cup SDG5 Dream Team. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

The Global Goals World Cup is an all-women football tournament, initiated by the Danish organization Eir Soccer, that aims to use the power of sport to change the world. The tournament was hosted on the sidelines of the 72nd UN General Assembly in partnership with the Permanent Mission of Denmark to the United Nations, UNDP, UN Women, GAIN, the Office of the UN Youth Envoy, Save the Children and the New York City Mayor’s Office for International Affairs. Previous Global Goal World Cups had taken place in Denmark and Kenya.

From where I stand
Dina Smailova. Photo: Almat Mukhamedjanov

Dina Smailova

Dina Smailova is a women’s rights activist and former producer of children’s entertainment programmes in Kazakhstan. A survivor of gang rape, she started a public discourse on sexual violence. On 19 September, she will play at the Global Goals World Cup, a women’s soccer tournament to raise awareness on gender equality and the SDGs.

SDG 5: Gender Equality

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