Gender equality through football

The United Nations launched the Global Development Goals in 2016. They are seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aimed at making this planet a better place for all. FootballEquals Foundation, established in Enschede, has been committed to three of the seventeen goals for the past two years.

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In short

  • ​More emancipation is called for
  • A football training that is accessible for talented children. No matter their gender, background or origin. The only thing that matters is talent!

Global Goal

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Equal opportunities through football

Mary Kok-Willemsen, former coach of the women’s team of FC Twente, founded the FootballEquals foundation in May 2016. The foundation’s goal is to create equal opportunities for professional talent development for both boys and girls, no matter their roots. It’s all about equality. There is a societal development to create more diversity on top levels. However, we separate children already from a young age. The FootballEquals Foundation (FEF) sets a new diversity standard for society, not just nationally but globally. 


Mary: “If we can create equal opportunities in the world of football, it can happen anywhere!” 


The FootballEquals foundation focusses on Sustainable Development Goals 5 (Gender equality), 10 (Reduced inequalities) and 17 (Partnerships for the goals).

SGD 5 and 10

The FootballEquals Foundation offers equal opportunities to all talents, no matter their gender, ethnicity or income level. The foundation is active in the Netherlands, Germany, Bonaire, China, Oman, India and the United Arab Emirates. SDG 5 aims at gender equality and empowering women and girls. SDG 10 aims at reduced inequality between countries. The foundation contributes to both goals through its multinational activities.

SDG 17

The FootballEquals Adacemy reaches 5000 people around the players and staff every year through collaboration. This number is rapidly increasing with every new collaboration. FEF believes in the power of global partnerships (partnership for the goals) to reach her goals. That’s why the foundation deliberately collaborates with (international) partners and football associations.

Creating obviousness

The FootballEquals Foundation creates a new form of obviousness regarding diversity in several ways. In the FootballEquals Academy, boys and girls aged between 7 and 17 train together based on the level of talent and experience instead of gender. Selection is based on aptitude, willingness and learning ability. FEA also tries to create diversity among its staff so that children are confronted with a diversity of role models.


This unique approach is combined with doing research (Research & Health) in collaboration with knowledge partners, (regional) corporates, colleges and universities, governments, clubs and (football) unions (Business & Events). The FootballEquals Foundation believes not only in offering equal opportunities but also in demonstrating the results.

Ambassadors: Michael van Praag and Onno van Veldhuizen

The FootballEquals Foundation could not wish for better ambassadors with Michael van Praag (Chair or the Royal Dutch Football Association KNVB) and Onno van Veldhuizen (mayor of the City of Enschede) fulfilling this role.


Michael: “Every talent has the right to develop themselves optimally. Gender and origin may never impede this right. As an ambassador of the FootballEquals Foundation, I support the foundation, and I stand for diversity and equal opportunities for talented boys and girls in football.”


The FootballEquals foundation wants to set a new societal standard when it comes to equal opportunity for talent development for both boys and girls. Even though the foundation takes the lead, it cannot fulfil its mission alone. Through partnerships, we can make a significant impact. We are all responsible for creating the right image of diversity and equal opportunity. The foundation has proven to influence those opportunities positively.

Become a founder of the FootballEquals Foundation!

Meet the Foundersclub FootballEquals Twente and become a member. Contact Mary Kok-Willemsen: +316 – 4105 4400 or

Date: 4 October 2018 |

Source of tekst: FootballEquals Foundation |