SDG5 Dream Team

Meet the SDG5 Dream Team

We asked strong established advocates and role models for gender equality to each nominate a woman who may not be famous, but has inspired them through her commitment to gender equality. 

Fatuma & Emma, New York, April 14, 2017.

Fatuma & Emma, New York, April 14, 2017.

In the world of sport heroes are celebrated, elevated to be bright stars and to serve as the role models of their generation. When it comes to gender equality activists, this is not the case. They fight their fight behind the lines, unnamed, unseen, often at great personal risk and cost, and with no other reward than truly being the change they want to see in the world.

We set out to change that.

The SDG 5 Dreamteam is an initiative by Global Goals World Cup, the Danish Permanent Mission to the UN, UNDP, Save the Children, UN Women, Women Deliver and the City of New York.

On March 13th during the Commission on the Status of Women conference at the UNHQ in New York, we nominated the first two players, and revealed their Dreamteam "Soccer Cards".
The event was hosted by the Danish and Kenyan permanent missions and partners.

Fatuma, I'm so proud to be your friend and sister. Your activism is the bravest kind. Speaking truth to power by grabbing mikes from bullshitting government officials and unapologetically walking up to UN representatives to be heard. You crush hierarchies and you're never afraid, even though you have every reason to be. Also, no one has better jokes about airport police racism.” – Emma Holten, Instagram (Sept 29, 2017).


Our first nominators were her excellency Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender from Kenya Mrs Sicily Kariuki. And her excellency Minister for Equal Opportunity and Nordic Cooperation Ms Karen Ellemann.

They nominated Fatuma Abdulkadir Adan (Kenya) and Emma Holten (Denmark). The players were nominated at an event at the ECOSOC chamber in partnership with the Danish and Kenyan Missions and partners. We were also pleasantly disrupted by one of our favorite activist teams: The ever relevant and unapologetic ladies from Girl Be Heard 

A special thank you to UNDP, the Office of the  Secretary Generals Envoy on Youth, Save the Children, Women Deliver, UN Women and the NYC Mayors office. 

More photos from the event here.


The next player was Khalida Popal. A true example of the global and universal nature of sport. She is an Afghan women, living in asylum in Denmark, nominated by an Australian football legend. Read more and see the nomination here.

After her came Dina Smailova from Kasakhstan. A brave woman who overcame the shame of being raped and shun by her family, to become the leader of a movement for women who finally break the silence. Read about her here.

Tshidi Likate of South Africa was the 5th player: A young, yet powerfull and outspoken defender of Girl's rights, nominated by the former first female Prime Minister of Denmark and current CEO of Save The Children International Ms Helle Thorning-Schmidt. Read about Tshidi here.

Legendary artist and activist Annie Lennox nominated UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and Syrian refugee Muzoon Al-Mellehan as the second last player. Read her motivation here.

HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark announced the final player in 2017 in New York. Assmaah Helal from Australia. Former Chair of the Commonwealth Youth SDP Working Group and Muslim Sportsperson of the Year in Australia, recognized for her work to increase participation in football for girls from migrant communities.


More Dream Team from the GGWCup New York September 2017