IWD21: Choosing to Challenge the inequality!

International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8 each year, is the celebration of the achievements of women around the world whilst it raises awareness for women’s equality. The theme for 2021, celebrates women’s in leadership as well as raising awareness for equality in the world with the #ChooseToChallenge campaign. We caught up with Harlow Ladies Captain Kaydee King to discuss the importance of the day, the changing times and her role as leader.

On a matchday, Kaydee leads the team out and encourages her teammates to get the best of our them whilst playing as a centre-half. Since joining the Hawks ahead of the 2017/18 season, she’s made close to 60 appearances for the club, making her a great candidate for wearing the armband. She knew what was required to get the best out of the squad. “Communication is key. Letting my players know I am there. On the pitch I don’t stop talking, I am always encouraging and this helps with confidence.”

“Being a leader comes with a lot of responsibility and it can be hard but I love it. It’s crucial to bring everyone together in the moments that don’t go your way but even more important to celebrate when they do.”

The International Women’s Day is a chance to celebrate the incredible achievements and lives of the women from different lives, backgrounds and walks of life. Kaydee understood the importance of the celebration and what it meant to her. “International Women’s Day is very important. It’s one day in the year where everyone globally comes together to celebrate the achievements of us women. I think it does inspire and opens people’s eyes because it’s a reminder of how far we have come and it’s spoken about by everyone.”

“It helps achieve gender parity not only in public but also in our personal lives which is key because it’s easy to preach something but not everyone lives up to that. It gives us confidence to speak up.”

The theme of women in leadership and promoting equality across the globe couldn’t have come at a better time for women. “With everything going on, there’s no better time to come together and stand as one to challenge inequality. It’s very important to have an equal society. It means there is no limitations, everyone has equal opportunities and it creates a better environment to live in.”

While times have changed drastically since the days women were allowed to vote, work or play sport, she felt there was plenty more than needed to be done to achieve full equality. “We have come so far and though we are grateful for that, in particular days like this when we can reflect but I’d have to say no [enough hasn’t been done to promote equality]. Like with everything, there’s always more that can be done.”

A family member was her true inspiration, she also looked towards a fellow captain and footballer for the inspiration in the sport. “My nan is definitely my inspiration in life. I’ve always looked up to her. In the sporting world, I’d have to say Steph Houghton. She is a phenomenal player and a great leader.”

Many women have had to break down barriers to be where they are today. The suffragettes fought for the right to vote while teams like Dick, Kerr’s Ladies fought to overturn the FA’s ban of women’s football. Although a lot has changed, it was still important to fight for more equality and King was no different. “It has been tough but it has also taught me a lot. I grew up playing boys football and it was always ‘they have a girl on their team’ followed by laughter. That was difficult but that motivated me and in the end, I always got the last laugh because I’d score goals or beat them with a skill. It pushed me to work harder and want to prove a point.”

And your message to young girls?

“I’d say go for it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot do something. It’s not always going to be easy but in those moments, remember the reason you started and keep going!”