What began as a conversation between Lotte Wubben-Moy and Leah Williamson has now transformed into a government pledge that will inspire girls in sport for years to come.
On International Women's Day, the UK government announced it will provide all schoolgirls equal access to football following the Lionesses' open letter to former prime ministerial contenders Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss. The letter, which was signed by all 23 players days after their historic win at Euro 2022, voiced the squad's collective belief on how to ensure that boys and girls enjoy the same level of access to sport in school.
The legacy of the Lionesses' campaign means that schools are now expected to provide a minimum of two hours of PE per week.
England captain Leah Williamson said: “The success of the summer has inspired so many young girls to pursue their passion for football. We see it as our responsibility to open the doors for them to do so and this announcement makes that possible. This is the legacy that we want to live much longer than us as a team.
"On behalf of all the Lionesses players, we'd like to thank our teammate Lotte Wubben-Moy as a driving force behind this transformational change. We couldn’t be prouder to stand alongside her and we all look forward to seeing the impact this legacy creates .”
Lotte Wubben-Moy reflected on the achievement: “By making football more accessible to millions of girls across the nation, we have opened a crucial door for the growth of women’s football and women’s sport as a whole. I am proud to be part of something that will live on for generations to come. This is just the beginning.”
As it stands in the UK, only 67% of all schools and 41% of secondary schools offer football equally to girls in PE lessons and only 46% of schools provide the same extracurricular opportunities as boys. Schools that successfully deliver equal opportunities for girls and boys will be rewarded through the School Games Mark.
Baroness Sue Campbell, The FA’s Director of Women’s Football said: “As soon as the final whistle was blown at Wembley on 31 July 2022, the players turned their attention to what they wanted their legacy from the tournament to be and what’s been announced today is as important as anything that was achieved on the pitch in the summer.
“We’re delighted that it will be made clear to schools that they should offer a minimum of two hours of PE and they must ensure that girls have equal access to all school sport, including football.
“A conversation led by Lotte Wubben-Moy and Leah Williamson on the bus from the Trafalgar Square celebrations has today delivered real change in society and the announcement is a testament to their tenacity and excellent engagement with the Government. The FA are as proud of them as we have ever been.”
Alongside her fellow Euro 2022-winning Lionesses Jill Scott and Ellen White, Beth Mead joined girls from the Let Girls Play campaign at Number 10 Downing Street for a celebratory event.
You can see photos of Beth at Number 10 in our gallery below.
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