How to make your facilities welcoming for women and girls.

Written by Natalie Doyle

October 26, 2022

A behind the goal view of a football pitch on a sunny day

Facilities are a huge part of the experience for participants in sport.  They can make a big difference in how people perceive your club.  So how can you make sure your facilities are welcoming for women and girls?  Here are some top tips:

1. Toilets. Let’s get straight to what can be one of the worst parts of some facilities.  If you want women and girls to have an enjoyable experience then let’s start with the toilets. They need to work and be clean.  You’ll need doors with locks on, soap in your soap dispensers, and hand dryers that work (or paper towels). Make sure that all your cubicles have sanitary bins in them and ideally provide free sanitary products that people can help themselves to if they need them.

2. Safety. Think about your location and the journey people will take into the facility. Are all parts well lit? Are women and girls going to feel safe walking there in the dark?  How can you adapt your arrival and departure procedures to make this experience better?

3. Quality of facilities and access to them.  Are some of your pitches better quality than others? If so, make sure that all teams get equal access to use them.  Don’t put your girls’ teams on the worst pitches every week.  Show they are a valued part of the club by implementing a fair rotation system for pitches.

4. Clubhouse and social areas. If you have a bar, clubhouse or similar at your facility, think about what you have on display.  Make sure any imagery is representative of all parts of your club.  If you have girls’ and boys’ teams, make sure they are both on the walls. Celebrate the girls’ achievements in the same way you do the boys’.

5. Not everything needs to be expensive.  Of course, having a full refurbishment of your facilities will make it look amazing but realistically that’s going to cost a lot of money.  Think about what a difference you can make with a small budget.  A fresh coat of paint, some nice air fresheners, giving everywhere a good clean – these things can all make a big difference. Talk to your parents and you might have some decorators who would be willing to give up their time or donate some materials.

These are just a few ideas to get you started but get creative and ask your players what improvements they’d like to see.  If they’re older then get them involved in the transformation.  They’ll love to see how you value their input and will be proud of the final outcome. Good luck!

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