Mexican football star Monica Gonzalez: “Soccer builds bridges not walls”
Gonzalez addressing UNI Americas 2016 says advocating female players’ rights with FIFPRO is the most important work in her life
Monica Gonzalez told the UNI Americas conference that FIFPRO was embracing women footballer’s rights and changing lives.
Gonzalez was invited to speak at the conference by UNI Global Union’s World Players’ Association of which FIFPRO is a member, among many other leading sports unions.
“My work with FIFPRO is very important to me even including playing the game I love and my career as a broadcaster. I wish that when I was playing I had had the support of FIFPRO to help me through negotiations and ensuring my human rights were not abused. In those days you had to rely on your family for advice and the received wisdom was that you were lucky to be playing and should not fight for your rights. We’ve seen female soccer players persecuted for standing up for the rights of their team-mates, some missing out on selection for teams and tournaments including the World Cup.
“The fight goes on but the world of women’s soccer is changing. New women’s soccer unions are being formed around the world, notably in Canada and new leagues too, including in Colombia where my foundation Gonzo is also operating.”
Gonzalez said it was significant that FIFPRO would hold its first women’s conference next year in the Netherlands and that the FIFPRO Executive would have two female members from now on.
The Mexican-American soccer star alluded to Trump’s threat to build a wall across the continent, saying that soccer built bridges rather than walls.
In an interview after her speech, Gonzalez explained why promoting women in sport was so important and why UNI World Athletes was paramount in getting out the message for women’s rights in sport.
“Research shows that more than 90% of women leaders played organised sport when they were young. Sport teaches life skills. Girls who get into soccer and other sports are less likely to make wrong decisions. Teenage pregnancy is not only often a personal challenge, it robs society of a girl fulfilling her potential and fully contributing to society.
“UNI World Athletes is doing great work and FIFPRO represents the global game – this is where change has to start, not least for girls and women. We know we face a challenge to spread girls’ soccer in Latin America – the vast majority of the 2.2 million registered female soccer players are in the United States but the game is spreading. We’re committed because this is important because when you think about world peace, this is one the causes that can change the world.”