Liverpool Football Club will mark International Women's Day with a range of activities focused around this year's theme, #ChoosetoChallenge, today.

  • LFC donating £2,500 to local female-led businesses in Pay it Forward initiative
  • Former Reds goalkeeper Chris Kirkland hosts #ChoosetoChallenge panel session
  • Career path support with local business owners in Careers Uncovered
  • LFC Women workshops with next generation of players

The club has worked with five local female-led businesses to create the Get Involved and Pay it Forward initiative, which has seen the club donate £500 to each business in order to cover the cost of their product or service for women in the community who may not be in a position to cover it themselves.

To generate further awareness for the small businesses, club staff have been set a #ChoosetoChallenge task they must complete for each of the small businesses, which include: Homebaked Bakery in Anfield; Belly by Rachael – a service which provides virtual support services for isolated new mums; the Liverpool Weaving Company – Liverpool’s first and only micro mill; the Liverpool Vets, who support the clinical care of the pets of people living on the street; and community laundrette Kitty’s.

LFC Foundation has also created a special International Women’s Day edition of its Works: Careers Uncovered session, which will explore the career paths of local female business owners.

Former Reds goalkeeper Chris Kirkland will also be hosting a Women in Football panel that will see discussions from women around the club about what #ChoosetoChallenge means to them.

LFC Women’s academy will be holding a workshop with members of the LFC Women squad which will focus on their rise to be professional sportspeople, inspiring the young women who are hot on their heels by exploring how they overcome gender bias.

LFC Foundation’s Primary Stars sessions will focus on the importance of gender parity using examples of incredible female athletes and their experiences along the way to help illustrate the importance of overcoming barriers.

LFC Women interim manager Amber Whiteley will discuss the crucial role of allyship with the Academy’s U18s squad and why levelling up gender bias is a job for both men and women.

Club staff have also been encouraged to join #ChoosetoChallenge-themed discussion sessions to understand the everyday challenges faced by women and what International Women’s Day represents for them.

Club partners are joining in the celebrations, too. Main sponsor Standard Chartered will be holding some internal panel sessions for its staff and clients with senior female leaders at the club and members of the LFC Women squad. Principal partners AXA and Expedia will also be utilising the International Women’s Day theme to raise awareness of the issues facing women in sport, and the club’s official global unified communications partner, Mitel, will be discussing the impact of the pandemic on women.

The International Women’s Day activities have been led by the club’s gender parity staff group, Unity Collective, which was established just over two years ago and will also represent the club at the Northern Power Women Awards this evening, which celebrates the very best in women’s achievements, mentoring and levelling up.

Lynne Stockton Howard, senior vice president, HR, and equality, diversity and inclusion executive sponsor at LFC, said: “As part of our Red Together strategy we are dedicated to ensuring the club is a fair and inclusive place for all of our colleagues and supporters.

“Making sure we celebrate important milestones like International Women’s Day not only helps to accelerate gender parity but ensures the conversation around equality and diversity in all of its forms does not go away.”

International Women’s Day has been taking place since 1911 and celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world.