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Women’s Euros 2022: Scoring Equality Goals

Posted on Aug 31, 2022 by Xtreme Staff

The year 2022 has seen an outstanding array ofevents, but for us the Women’s Euros wiped the floor with everything else. Record-breaking and game-changing, the excitement was in part fuelled by a digital storm

// Words by // Verity Butler

The dazzling success of England’s Lionesses at the 2022 Euros captured the nation’s hearts. Not only was it just the second international tournament England has ever won, but it also created the feeling that women’s football was forever changed.

This was so much more than just winning a trophy. It signified an inarguable sense of validation, levelling out that exhausting debate over whether women’s sport is equally as important as men’s. Of course, many of us already knew the answer. But somewhat unsurprisingly, it took England’s women winning one of the biggest international football competitions to drive the point home – in the form of a big, glass Uefa trophy.

Something integral to the buzz was the hot magma of eruptive social media, bubbling away in the online space. We saw an incessant churning of TikToks, tweets and live streams to the nation. Be it from the players’ personal TikTok accounts or BBC Sport Twitter – through a variety of mediums, people were spreading the word. Triggering top trends and engaging every possible fan, it most importantly spread the word that the girls were in town, and that women’s football had finally smashed its way through an invisible glass stadium ceiling.

Kicking off the movement

Women in Sport is a charity founded in 1984, formed to make sure change is secured by deeply understanding the needs of women and girls at each life stage.

The year 2022 has seen an outstanding array ofevents, but for us the Women’s Euros wiped the floor with everything else. Record-breaking and game-changing, the excitement was in part fuelled by a digital storm

// Words by // Verity Butler

The dazzling success of England’s Lionesses at the 2022 Euros captured the nation’s hearts. Not only was it just the second international tournament England has ever won, but it also created the feeling that women’s football was forever changed.

This was so much more than just winning a trophy. It signified an inarguable sense of validation, levelling out that exhausting debate over whether women’s sport is equally as important as men’s. Of course, many of us already knew the answer. But somewhat unsurprisingly, it took England’s women winning one of the biggest international football competitions to drive the point home – in the form of a big, glass Uefa trophy.

Something integral to the buzz was the hot magma of eruptive social media, bubbling away in the online space. We saw an incessant churning of TikToks, tweets and live streams to the nation. Be it from the players’ personal TikTok accounts or BBC Sport Twitter – through a variety of mediums, people were spreading the word. Triggering top trends and engaging every possible fan, it most importantly spread the word that the girls were in town, and that women’s football had finally smashed its way through an invisible glass stadium ceiling.

Kicking off the movement

Women in Sport is a charity founded in 1984, formed to make sure change is secured by deeply understanding the needs of women and girls at each life stage.

We saw an incessant churning of TikToks, tweets and live streams to the nation. Be it from players’ personal accounts or BBC Sport Twitter

With core missions of breaking down stubborn gender inequalities that still blatantly exist in the sports sector, it has seen first-hand the importance of social media and the online space in the eradication of gender inequality.

“I don’t really have any background in sports and haven’t ever been a sporty person, but when I saw this opportunity, it was something I knew I wanted to be a part of,” says Women in Sport campaigns and communications officer, Shanika Flanore. “Especially as a woman of colour, we are at a greater disadvantage in so many ways. This compelled me to join, as I had experienced sexism in my previous roles.”

Women in Sport was established by captain of the England women’s hockey team, Anita White, and former England lacrosse captain, Professor Celia Brackenridge OBE.

“Our founders started the charity based on the frustration and discrimination they endured in their own sports – and sport as a whole.

“Anita was part of the England hockey squad that won the Women’s Hockey World Cup in 1975 – and felt frustrated by the total lack of event coverage. This led her to becoming a key fighter for gender equality in sport.

With core missions of breaking down stubborn gender inequalities that still blatantly exist in the sports sector, it has seen first-hand the importance of social media and the online space in the eradication of gender inequality.

“I don’t really have any background in sports and haven’t ever been a sporty person, but when I saw this opportunity, it was something I knew I wanted to be a part of,” says Women in Sport campaigns and communications officer, Shanika Flanore. “Especially as a woman of colour, we are at a greater disadvantage in so many ways. This compelled me to join, as I had experienced sexism in my previous roles.”

Women in Sport was established by captain of the England women’s hockey team, Anita White, and former England lacrosse captain, Professor Celia Brackenridge OBE.

“Our founders started the charity based on the frustration and discrimination they endured in their own sports – and sport as a whole.

“Anita was part of the England hockey squad that won the Women’s Hockey World Cup in 1975 – and felt frustrated by the total lack of event coverage. This led her to becoming a key fighter for gender equality in sport.

COME TOGETHER The entire nation united to support the Lionesses
COME TOGETHER The entire nation united to support the Lionesses

Co-founder Celia Brackenridge not only captained the GB lacrosse team, but was also inspired by the likes of tennis legend Billie Jean King, wanting to ensure that gender equality was at the forefront of the UK’s agenda,” says Flanore.

A critical element to the charity’s mission is not only to think about changes specifically within sport, but how to use it as a wider tool for societal change.

“With the buzz around the Women’s Euros, it has been a fantastic time for women’s sport to be public-facing – and we’ve seen a lot of conversation around how crucial it is.

“Our core aim is centred on the belief that no one should miss out on the joy, life benefits and fulfilment that sport brings,” Flanore adds.

Killer campaigning

Women in Sport’s sector-leading insight is driving innovation, with programmes that provide impactful solutions to the tackling of gender inequalities, and campaigning that empowers more women and girls to be active.

“A key message we wanted to spread during the Euros was the importance of team sport,” describes Flanore. “We had the Hisense #RememberTheName campaign, as well as our work with Greene King pubs. They installed female football tables in all their venues.

“We primarily used all the social media platforms to communicate our message – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. But a key thing was that the Lionesses told our story to everyone through their own social media, where they presented a team-wide element of confidence and resilience, which only worked to amplify our message.”

Co-founder Celia Brackenridge not only captained the GB lacrosse team, but was also inspired by the likes of tennis legend Billie Jean King, wanting to ensure that gender equality was at the forefront of the UK’s agenda,” says Flanore.

A critical element to the charity’s mission is not only to think about changes specifically within sport, but how to use it as a wider tool for societal change.

“With the buzz around the Women’s Euros, it has been a fantastic time for women’s sport to be public-facing – and we’ve seen a lot of conversation around how crucial it is.

“Our core aim is centred on the belief that no one should miss out on the joy, life benefits and fulfilment that sport brings,” Flanore adds.

Killer campaigning

Women in Sport’s sector-leading insight is driving innovation, with programmes that provide impactful solutions to the tackling of gender inequalities, and campaigning that empowers more women and girls to be active.

“A key message we wanted to spread during the Euros was the importance of team sport,” describes Flanore. “We had the Hisense #RememberTheName campaign, as well as our work with Greene King pubs. They installed female football tables in all their venues.

“We primarily used all the social media platforms to communicate our message – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. But a key thing was that the Lionesses told our story to everyone through their own social media, where they presented a team-wide element of confidence and resilience, which only worked to amplify our message.”

Our founders started the charity based on the frustration they endured in their own sports – and sport as a whole

According to statistics from Next Sports, the Uefa Women’s Euro 2022 social media content registered 1.34 billion total user impressions overall, as well as 14.3 million user engagements. Its top ten social media posts generated over 308.4 million user impressions – four times more than the 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup top ten, for reference.

According to statistics from Next Sports, the Uefa Women’s Euro 2022 social media content registered 1.34 billion total user impressions overall, as well as 14.3 million user engagements. Its top ten social media posts generated over 308.4 million user impressions – four times more than the 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup top ten, for reference.

INDOOR ACTION Greene King’s female table football nitiative helped propel the sport’s popularity
INDOOR ACTION Greene King’s female table football nitiative helped propel the sport’s popularity

Five of the top ten social posts (ranked by engagements) were published via England’s TikTok account. At the time of analysis, the most engaging post came before the final itself, featuring a Q&A with England striker Fran Kirby, who answered pop-culture questions while doing keepy-ups. At the time of writing, that post had racked up more than 4.3 million video views. Social media took on a whole new meaning for the Women in Sport team, who had a few viral posts themselves during the tournament.

Five of the top ten social posts (ranked by engagements) were published via England’s TikTok account. At the time of analysis, the most engaging post came before the final itself, featuring a Q&A with England striker Fran Kirby, who answered pop-culture questions while doing keepy-ups. At the time of writing, that post had racked up more than 4.3 million video views. Social media took on a whole new meaning for the Women in Sport team, who had a few viral posts themselves during the tournament.

Because this has been such an amazing thing for women’s football, we want to make sure it’s not a forgotten moment in history

“There was one post on LinkedIn in particular that went viral,” comments Flanore. “Off the top of my head, it had 45,000 likes, 1200 shares and a 15% increase to our followers. That specific post got just under two million impressions, which was phenomenal and we’re still wrapping our heads around it.”

The Lioness legacy

As with every major sports event, the buzz and conversation surrounding it rises steadily, peaks, plateaus, then gently drops off in the following months. Flanore emphasises how Women in Sport won’t be letting that happen.

“Because this has been such an amazing thing for women’s football, we want to make sure it’s not a forgotten moment in history. Our digital strategy involves working off that momentum, delivering into schools to keep young girls excited and inspired about new possibilities for their futures.”

It’s clear that not only have the online and social stratospheres become tools to help develop your brand, they’ve also become powerful weapons for social change.

This article first featured in the Sept/Oct issue of FEED:Xtreme.

Fan engagement archives

“There was one post on LinkedIn in particular that went viral,” comments Flanore. “Off the top of my head, it had 45,000 likes, 1200 shares and a 15% increase to our followers. That specific post got just under two million impressions, which was phenomenal and we’re still wrapping our heads around it.”

The Lioness legacy

As with every major sports event, the buzz and conversation surrounding it rises steadily, peaks, plateaus, then gently drops off in the following months. Flanore emphasises how Women in Sport won’t be letting that happen.

“Because this has been such an amazing thing for women’s football, we want to make sure it’s not a forgotten moment in history. Our digital strategy involves working off that momentum, delivering into schools to keep young girls excited and inspired about new possibilities for their futures.”

It’s clear that not only have the online and social stratospheres become tools to help develop your brand, they’ve also become powerful weapons for social change.

This article first featured in the Sept/Oct issue of FEED:Xtreme.

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