In the lead up to Women’s Day, CEQUIN in partnership with Australian High Commission and UNESCO, organised a Conclave of the National Alliance for Women’s Football In India, in New Delhi today. Inspired by new emerging women sporting icons in India, an ambitious plan of taking Indian Women’s Football to the global stage, has brought together various stakeholders to set up the Alliance, with CEQUIN as its convener. This unique initiative includes diverse partners committed to the advancement of women’s football in India such as the government, All India Football Federation, state federations, players, clubs, academies, NGOs, educational institutions, media, UN agencies, commercial leagues, corporate bodies, international organizations, etc.
Conclave of the National Alliance for Women’s Football In India – New Delhi
The day long Conclave saw the participation of over 80 delegates from across the country, deliberating and identifying opportunities to develop a multi-stakeholder approach to galvanise girls football at the grassroots, at well as support AIFF and State Associations’ efforts at the level of excellence. The key speakers at the event were Sara Pilot, Chairperson, CEQUIN and Women’s Committee, AIFF, Kushal Das, General Secretary, AIFF, Harinder Sidhu, Australian High Commissioner to India, Oinam Bembem Devi, Indian Footballer, Belinda Wilson, FIFA, Eric Falt, Director and UNESCO Representative to Bhutan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka and Nishtha Satyam, Deputy Country Representative, India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka, UN Women.
On this occasion, Sara Pilot said that, “CEQUIN has been running a girls grassroots football programme for the last 8 years. We have seen how powerful it is, as a tool for adolescent girl empowerment, in terms of health, education, mobility, decision making and expanded social networks. The immense talent that we see, needs to be linked with pathways to excellence. Given the rise of women’s football globally, we believe that we can collectively create an inspiring narrative for the National Women’s team.”
According to Kushal Das, AIFF, “This kind of collective support to our efforts is very motivating. It compels us to prioritise the women’s game. We have launched the IWL and now made a bid for U-17 Women’s World Cup. I am committed to strengthen and take forward these efforts.”
Harinder Sidhu, Australian High Commissioner, “I congratulate CEQUIN for this historic effort of bringing everyone together on this unique platform of National Alliance. The Australian Finance Minister, on her last visit to India, was really impressed by CEQUIN’s efforts in enabling girls to break social barriers and play football to bring about a transformation.”
Eric Falt, Director and UNESCO Representative to Bhutan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka, “The criticality of linking adolescent girl empowerment to the development process has been emphasised by the SDGs. Creating a change in socio-economic and cultural discourse will lead to the holistic development of women in sports.”
Established in 2009, the Centre for Equity and Inclusion (CEQUIN) is an NGO that promotes equal rights for women and girls, to enable them to lead a violence-free life, develop their capabilities, have ownership and control over resources and participate in decision making. To accomplish its objectives, CEQUIN works with not only adolescent girls and women, but also with other stakeholders such as men and boy, local community and institutions.
A flagship initiative of CEQUIN is Kickstart Equality which uses Football as a tool to build girls leadership.