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Girls winning on the football field on International Women’s Day

A team cheer before the game


Students from Bangkok Prep and Duang Prateep Foundation celebrated International Women’s Day on 8 March 2012 with United Nations Girls Education Initiative partners UNESCO Bangkok and Right To Play. This interactive youth event highlighted the role that sport and physical education can play in connecting girls and inspiring a future, which was the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day.

Student crowds at Bangkok International Preparatory & Secondary School let out great cheers around the football field during a friendly mixed match of boys and girls to promote International Women’s Day on 8 March 2012. 

When girls took a ball and scored a goal, the crowd cheered even louder. 

“Boys usually think they are better than girls,” said Kim Bui, an Australia-Vietnamese Year 7 student of Bangkok International Preparatory & Secondary School (Bangkok Prep), Thailand. “So today is a good day that girls can get attention and respect.”
This year to celebrate International Women’s Day UNESCO Bangkok used physical education and sport to encourage boys and girls to play together, and to demonstrate that by playing together everybody wins on the sport field.

“In normal day when we play football together, boys always say ‘I’m the one who have to shoot because I’m stronger’, ‘I’m the one who has to be a goal keeper’ as they want to show off,” said Lua Saar, French Israel Year 7 of Bangkok Prep.
“But today we have the girls to have the same power as boys.” 

The mixed football match ‘Only Girls Can Score’ consisted of Bangkok Prep student teams with equal numbers of boy and girl players. The rules are that only girls can score. Only girls can be the goal keeper. And only girls’ goals are allowed in the net. So a team can only win by valuing and supporting their female team members.

“There was a bit of problems when I pass on the ball to the girl players but they are not able to take it though it is a soft kick” said a Year 7 male student of Bangkok Prep. 
“But it’s fun. I’d need to try every way to make the girls get the ball and score. And when they can score, I’m happy too,” said Smith Uthaichalanond, Thai-American student. 

The interactive youth session highlighting the role that sport can play in connect girls and inspiring futures, promoted gender equality on the sports field and beyond by valuing female participation in sports.  It also emboldened girls to be active in sports and reinforced behaviours of both boys and girls which support female participation.

“We’re here in Thailand and we’re lucky as boys and girls have both the possibilities to play sport,” said UNESCO Bangkok’s Deputy Director Etienne Clement. “But this is not a case in a number of countries including in this region in Asia. Girls and women in many countries can’t do sports”. 

“Claiming the rights for girls and women is not to be done only on Women’s Day, but every day. Girls and women have the same rights as boys and men and it’s applicable to school and sports. So when you get a position in a society to be whatever you want to become in the future, I’d like you to carry in mind that equal rights is for everybody, men and women, boys and girls”. 

“No discrimination can be accepted including in play or doing sports,” Mr. Clement said to the students during his speech. 

Activities of kindergarten school children from Duang Prateep Foundation and Bangkok Prep Year 12 students ended the celebration. The elder brothers and sisters of Bangkok Prep learned how to guide and coach the younger ones in a 30-minute session of play-based activities. This final session encouraged participation in healthy physical activity for the younger children, and develop leadership skills for the older ones.


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Duang Prateep Foundation:

Right To Play Thailand:

Bangkok International Preparatory & Secondary School: 

UNESCO Bangkok Gender Equality in Education Webpage: