Thousands football fans become gender equality enthusiasts

Thursday, 16 February, 2017

In the Albanian football community the HeForShe Solidarity Movement is not unknown anymore. Starting from journalists, sport anchors or football players to random fans of the local teams in Albania, everyone learned more about #HeForShe, and the power of men and boys to drive gender equality.

From October to December, all football stadiums in Albania welcomed the `HeForShe in Stadiums`; a joint initiative of the Albanian Football Federation and UN Women supported by Vodafone Foundation, a Global HeForShe Impact Champion 10x10x10. A unique Application; `HeForShe Fan` was designed and created targeting football fans during the campaign, so they can play, win and also publicly engage for gender equality as they watch their favorite match, in the stadium or at home. Game after game, visiting all the stadiums of Albania, the “HeForShe Fan” very quickly became popular among football community with an average of 4200 active users every month and more then 10 000 downloads in less the 3 months.

Tritan Kokona, from Albanian Football Federation surprised by the results says:”

In the beginning we were not sure how our fans would receive our message, but support for the game grew gradually. . We were excited to bring gender equality in the stadiums and see the fans support it tremendously.

"As challenging as it seemed to reach 100,000 men supporters, we whole-heartedly believed in it, as we believe in a better society and a better future, says Albi Greva, Vodafone Foundation Director.

UN Women Representative in Albania, David Saunders praised the partnership with Vodafone Foundation and the Football Federation, and the impact the HeForShe campaign has had by asking football fans to empower women and girls “…today, Men and Boys at football games, are even discussing how they can support their sisters, and women in their lives, how to stand against violence or how they can question a friends behavior.”

In less than 3 months it is believed that the initiative reached all the football fans around Albania, while more then 50 000 were in the stadiums when the HeForShe team visited, calling for a more active role of men and boys for gender equality.

Additionally 6000 men and boys, fans of different teams were directly approached and asked to give their contribution in empowering women and girls.

# HeForShe movement is about solidarity. We asked thousands of fans in the crowded stadiums, for solidarity and support for women and girls. Kids with HeForShe T-shirts rocked the pitches with the football players, stadiums echoed the HeForShe messages, while football fans interacted through the Mobile App, playing and winning gifts in the special quizzes, and sharing awareness messages in real time.

A great opportunity to bring innovation and technology closer to sharp social challenges such as gender equality.

The aim since the beginning was to influence men and boys, football lovers, from 18-34 years old to inform them on gender equality setbacks in the communities they live, and reflect on their role for achieving an equal society. Starting in Durres, then in coastal city of Vlora, small town of Peqin, to continue with Elbasan, Shkodra, Lac, and to hit the last game in Korca, the HeForShe team brought the message of equality in all the stadiums, challenging men and boys to be a “HeForShe Fan”.