“We aim to obtain a minimum of 1 million signatures demonstrating broader unacceptance of gender inequality globally by the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar”, partners across different sectors pledged at the “Equal Light Red Card” global campaign launched on March 6 at the United Nations New York Headquarters.
UNESCO joined the African Renaissance and Diaspora Network (ARDN) and FIFA in launching the “Equal Light Red Card” global campaign, calling on all parties to show the red card to all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls. The “Equal Light Red Card” campaign falls within the framework of the Pathway to Solution’s Initiative, an international multilateral special project for the United Nations. Spearheaded by ARDN, this initiative strives to popularize the Sustainable Development Goals in close collaboration with various UN system entities, the international community, the civil society, the private sector, the academia as well as the world of sport, culture and governments. It is envisioned that the Red Card campaign global launch will serve as a beacon towards creating a global movement to ensure that women and girls are truly free to enjoy the equal dignity and rights promised to all peoples, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
The “Red Card’s mission is to utilize the unifying power of sport to provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to demonstrate to the world their commitments and efforts towards achieving equality and equity for all and to encourage their constituencies to become part of an international team dedicated to scoring the SDGs, specifically, SDG5 (Gender Equality), 10 (Reduced Inequalities) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).
In her statement, H.E. Ms. Epsy Campbell Barr, the first Vice-President of the Republic of Costa Rica, called on all parties to contribute to a culture of peace by supporting the Red Card campaign that strives to foster peace among men and women. Within the “zero tolerance towards violence against women”, she urged for accelerated global actions in bringing all women and girls freedom and rights.
Representing UNESCO, Ms. Marie Paule Roudil, Director of UNESCO New York Office joined the campaign by highlighting the two key institutional priorities for UNESCO, notably gender equality and Africa. She reiterated UNESCO’s commitment to contribute to the Red Card campaign in an effort to fully mobilize and engage decision-makers, influencers, networks, and teachers and, in particular, girls and boys. Stressing the central role of schools “in the application and promotion of gender equality’ and the potential of sport to instill trust in girls, change the attitudes of teachers and students, transmit the values of respect and equality, and teach life-long skills fundamental to empowering girls”, she emphasized the importance of physical education and values education through sport in the change that Red Card aims to promote. Ms. Roudil also pointed out that the UNESCO, with the support of Switzerland, is currently conducting a study for the establishment in Switzerland of a World Observatory for Physical Education, Sport and Women. She further underscored UNESCO’s efforts in developing an international partnership initiative with FIFA – the "Football for Schools" – which will enable stakeholders of all stripes to engage.
Also speaking at the launch were Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of the UN Women, Dr. Dereje Wordofa, the Deputy Executive Director of UNFPA, youth representatives and partners from the civil society.