England’s history-making Lionesses have penned an open letter to prime ministerial candidates Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss.
The Lionesses inspired a generation at Euro 2022, beating Germany 2-1 after extra time and now the players have sent a joint message to the two potential Tory leaders urging more girls football in schools.
The letter posted on social media reads: “Dear Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, on Sunday evening history was made.
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“The dreams of 23 women came true. England became European champions for the first time in history.
“Throughout the Euros, we as a team spoke about our legacy and goal to inspire a nation. Many will think that this has already been achieved, but we see this only as the beginning.
“We are looking to the future. We want to create real change in this country and we are asking you, if you were to become Prime Minister on 5 September, to help us achieve that change.
“Currently only 63% of girls can play football in PE lessons. The reality is we are inspiring young girls to play football, only for many to end up going to school and not being able to play.
“This is something that we all experienced growing up. We were often stopped from playing. So we made our own teams, we travelled across the country and despite the odds, we just kept playing football.
“Women’s football has come a long way. But it still has a long way to go.
“We ask you and your government to ensure that all girls have access to a minimum of two hours a week PE. Not only should we be offering football to all girls, we also need to invest in and support female PE teachers too.
“Their role is crucial and we need to give them the resources to provide girls’ football sessions. They are key role models from which so many young girls can flourish.
“We have made incredible strides in the women’s game, but this generation of school girls deserve more. They deserve to play football at lunchtime, they deserve to play football in PE lessons and they deserve to believe that they can one day play for England. We want their dreams to also come true.
“This is an opportunity to make a huge difference. A change that will impact millions of young girls’ lives. We – the 23 members of the England Senior Women’s Euro squad – ask you to make it a priority to invest into girls’ football in schools, so that every girl has the choice.
“Regards, The 2022 UEFA Women’s EURO England Squad.”
The Shadow Education Secretary, Labour’s Bridget Phillipson, has written to the Education Secretary demanding an ‘Equal Access Guarantee’ in schools, to ‘help secure the legacy of the Lionesses’.
She told the Mirror: “The country has come together to celebrate the Lionesses’ stunning victory, now we need to come together to secure that legacy and deliver equal access to sport for women and girls.
“The Conservatives have consistently failed to build on our sporting successes and must not continue to hide behind outdated guidance which is limiting girls’ access to sport at school.
“Labour is calling on the government to seize this moment and deliver an Equal Access Guarantee so every child gets to experience all sports on offer at school.”
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