ASK FOR CHOICE; Empowering Opportunities for Women Worldwide
According to Coaches Across Continents (CAC): “Soccer is the most loved sport on earth, played by over 265 million people worldwide. In 2006, only 10% of those 265 million people were female. In 2014, female participation was up to 14%.”
People have been fighting for gender equality for decades. Recognizing the male domination in the world of sports sheds light on the lack of female voices in our society. CAC embraces the power of sports to enforce human rights. It is an organization that only runs through partnerships with collaborations in over 40 countries and six continents. It enables these partnering organizations to utilize its various year-round strategic resources to design, develop and implement sustainable sport for social impact.
Meet team ASK For Choice
CAC developed a separate initiative – ASK For Choice - with their program that focuses specifically on the issue of gender inequality and female empowerment through sports. ASK For Choice has organized a team full of former college athletes from Harvard and Columbia University. They will be bringing their mission to Global Goals World Cup, playing for GOAL #5: Gender Equality.
“We’ve seen so many policies that do exist where equality is accepted as an agreement, but it is not actually put into practice,” says Nora Dooley, a player and organizer of the team.
ASK stands for attitude, skills and knowledge. The program focuses on improving these three aspects to inspire safe choices for women around the world. ASK For Choice has created games to provide women with tools to become active participants in their lives, and for men to accept them as equals. The goal of this curriculum is to help developing societies realize the incredible opportunities that arise from gender equality.
As one of the first women working for CAC, Dooley speaks up for the gender front of the organization. She has worked with people all over the world who are passionate about sports, education and social justice. She is confident that soccer – the universal sport- has the ability to empower millions of lives. She encourages a shift in focus of the game:
“We need to focus less on the one percent of people who are paid to play,” she said. “Look more at the joy and passion that 99 percent of us get from playing, loving and sharing the sport with each other.”
Global Goals World Cup Initiatives
Since team members of ASK For Choice are former college athletes from Harvard and Columbia University, they would like to utilize these two colleges as a campaign platform to raise awareness of their work - whether their stories are told in school papers or on the university’s athletic website. These two schools usually compete against one another, but this is a chance for ASK For Choice to unite the two schools over one common purpose; a similar concept as the 17 UN Global Goals coming together.
“This is for something more than just winning or losing the game,” Dooley explains . “We are really playing for something bigger. I think that’s an initial idea that we will move towards in terms of campaigning.”
Global Goals World Cup is a networking opportunity for the team to meet other women who have different ideas and backgrounds. Dooley is looking forward to hearing new perspectives about the way many are trying to solve the global goals and how we can collaborate and move toward progressive change. She hopes for a future where people receive fair opportunities in life regardless of their upbringing or ethnicity.
“I’d like to move the current paradigm to a place where no matter where you’re born, the environment you’re born into or where you’re raised, you have options and choices that create opportunities for you to pursue your passion,”
Nora Dooley -Team ASK for Choice.