Importance of International Women’s Day

Chelsea Ladies captain Katie Chapman and long-serving defender Claire Rafferty are leading the way in the club’s support of International Women’s Day, alongside our global charity partner Plan International.

Plan International became Chelsea global charity partner in 2015, and together we are working to change the lives of children in Asia, Africa and South America by using football to help educate young people, especially girls – making sure they stay in school longer, marry later and have the chance to fulfil their potential.

Today marks International Women’s Day and the Chelsea Ladies duo are due to attend an event about global drive for gender parity with Kingston Council, where they will speak about how women’s football has grown and challenges they have faced throughout their careers.

Members of the men’s squad are also involved with Olivier Giroud and Willian among those to take time out to pose for pictures and record messages of support.

‘It is really important we keep International Women’s Day in the public eye and promote it,’ said Chapman.

‘It’s important for girls and women out there to know that they should be able to do what they want, there should be equality, there shouldn’t be a reason why they can’t do it and it’s important we promote these values as a club so we can encourage girls to follow their dreams.

‘For me who has been in the game a long time, I didn’t have role models to look up to when I started playing. Now thankfully this has changed and girls have so many role models to look up to – not just the English players but the international players.

‘The quality of the game has risen so much they can pick any player they want to be their role model and they’ve got a dream to follow.’

Sarah West, head of communications at Plan International added: ‘It is fantastic to have the support of Chelsea Football Club on International Women’s Day. It is so important for both girls and boys to have strong female role models, as we continue to champion and empower girls through our partnership with the Club.’

As part of the celebration and to raise awareness of International Women’s Day, Rafferty was also recently the guest of honour at an event at Fulham Cross Girl’s School.

The Blues defender joined 50 girls from three local primary schools as they took part in practical activities and educational workshops, organised by Chelsea Foundation staff and coaches and supported by our global charity partner, Plan International.

CLAIRE RAFFERTY HELPS INSPIRE YOUNG WOMEN FOR INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

Speaking at the school, Rafferty said: ‘It is always great to work with the Chelsea Foundation and Plan at these sorts of events. Today has been about empowerment and so we’ve been talking about female role models and building the confidence of the girls involved.

‘Educating girls through sport is important as it builds confidence and the interaction builds team spirit and will help the girls grow collectively and as individuals.’

International Women’s Day started in 1911 when more than one million women and men attended rallies to claim women’s right to vote and work. Last month marked 100 years since women first won the right to vote in Britain.