International Women’s Day has grown since the first event was held in America in 1909 to become a yearly focus point on issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights and violence and abuse against women.
Leeann, who is the only female club Chief Executive in Scottish Football, said: “There are a small number of females working in high profile roles in clubs in Scotland. Ann Budge is the Chair at Hearts and there are a number of Directors at other clubs however football remains a male dominated profession.”
“It is important to raise awareness about discrimination and take action to drive gender parity as well as celebrate women’s achievement. They are some of the reasons I wanted to visit Mount Florida Primary where we are building a strong community relationship and talk about International Women’s Day.”
“I spoke to the Primary 1 – 3 girls and the whole class in Primary 7 about the importance of the Day and helped to highlight three main areas – Equity, Self-worth and Building up others.”
Leeann added: “Equity is all about why women should be able to do any job or role and have equality of opportunity. There were a number of other females from male dominated professions there as part of the visit, and it was great to have them all involved in round-robin discussions with the girls over equity.”
“I also spoke about self-worth and the importance in believing in yourself and not being obsessed with weight and looks. I also gave over the message that photos in social media are not reality which is an issue that has grown in recent years.”
“Building up others is all about the importance of females building each other up as opposed to tearing each other down. It is a bit like the team-work a football team needs.”
International Women’s Day was not just discussed with the girls at Mount Florida Primary as Leeann explained: “The morning session was with the girls however in the afternoon the boys joined in discussions about females in male dominated roles and working in that kind of profession.”
“I would like to thank everyone at the school for their time and their participation in what was a really lively event and one that I enjoyed very much.”
Caroline Gibson, Mount Florida Primary School, Headteacher: “We are very grateful to Leeann, and all of our other visitors, for coming along to talk to the children on International Women’s Day. It has been a really positive, inspiring day for all of the girls, and the staff. Including our boys in some of the talks raises awareness of gender equality for them too.
We are so pleased to have partners who are happy to come in and help us discuss important issues about equality. It is not the first time Queen’s Park FC have supported us with teaching about equality and we really appreciate their support. It is important for the children to hear from a variety of people about real life experiences and this is where support from our partners is invaluable.
Thank you again to everyone involved”
Leeann also visited St Fillan’s Primary to see how pupils were progressing on a project being delivered by Queen’s Park FC Foundation. The aims of the initiative are to teach pupils business skills such as marketing, planning, and finance through the medium of football. As part of the project pupils have been working with the players and coaches from the women’s first team, marketing group The Big Think Agency, former Scottish Women’s Team internationalist Suzanne Winter and enjoyed a visit to Hampden Stadium as inspiration.
Leeann said: ‘It was great to visit St Fillan’s one our partnership schools. The pupils have worked hard and are clearly really involved with the club as a result of the great work our Foundation. The pupils came up with some great ideas to ensure that people coming to a game will enjoy the match day experience, provide a great atmosphere for the women’s team to play in addition to developing some great branding ideas. I was really delighted with their work and the ingenuity of their ideas. They have invested a lot of hours in the project and given me a lot of food for thought going forward. I can’t wait to see their finished design.