World Cup 2014: Football that Empowers Girls
Bread for the World's World Cup series will use the occasion of the Cup to focus on the great advances many of the participating countries and players have made in fighting hunger and poverty. Each day, until the end of the tournament, we will highlight a country, or an individual player, that is making a difference.
Sunday, July 13: Germany v. Argentina
The final match of the World Cup between Germany and Argentina has fans on edge. Thousands are watching and asking: Who will be the champions of the 2014 World Cup? While Germany delivered a stunning victory over Brazil in the semi-finals, Argentina enters the match with a total of nine wins. This final game promises to be not only intense, but also a chance to highlight the determination and hard work of both teams.
German midfielder Mario Götze brought not only his passion for football to Brazil, but also his heart to empower women and girls. As a devoted ambassador for Plan, an international children’s charity, Götze has supported typhoon relief efforts in the Philippines and malaria education campaigns in Sierra Leone.
At the advent of the 2014 World Cup, Götze became the spokesperson for Plan’s “Children need fans!” initiative. The goal of the project is to use soccer to combat extreme poverty, social injustice, and violence against women in Brazilian society.
“Football plays a huge role for boys and for girls in this country. But there are also many grievances: Many girls are challenged with traditional gender roles, often discriminated against, and exposed to violence and drugs,” says Götze. "The girls’ football projects of Plan International reassure girls in northeastern Brazil and give them through education the chance at a better future."
According to research compiled by the Bread for the World Institute, increased gender equality results in increased economic and agricultural productivity. The empowerment of women was linked to 55 percent of hunger reduction between 1970 and 1995. The strides that Götze and other World Cup athletes have taken in regard to gender equality demonstrates that the fight against hunger unites both men and women.
The commitment so many World Cup players have for improving the quality of life in their homelands and around the world is an inspiration. Their support of organizations that combat hunger and poverty show the potential of their fans, friends, and fellow athletes to rally in the movement toward a hunger-free world.
Photo: German midfielder Mario Götze. (Steindy via Wikimedia Commons)
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