Diversity House LeFoot picked up many of the narratives in evidence at the World Cup, the wonderful stories of achievement, the journeys of empowerment and positivity, the challenges that women face in being accepted as equal, and stories of abuse and exclusion.
Launching on opening day, the House was open for 10 days with an exhibition on the history of women’s football and a celebration of pioneers. Panel discussions on big issues, and World Cup match-viewings bright in a regular flow of visitors to the space located in the famous Crémerie de Paris in Les Halles.
Tamara Tien, vice-Chair of the Fare Board, was delighted with the impact of the House: “The spirit that brings people together at global sporting events was there in France; equality, understanding and growth was a big part of the story of the 2019 Women’s World Cup and the Diversity House LeFoot was a part of it. We are enormously proud that we were able to contribute to using the tournament to create awareness and change.”
Over 500 visitors participated in events, with fans from Australia, Argentina, Canada, China, Japan, USA, joining Parisiens and those from other European nations.
Amongst the events that took place were film screenings of ‘Ladies’ Turn’ and ‘Freedom Fields’, discussions, panels and presentations on issues including African womens football, homophobia in sport, the #MeToo movement and gender identity.
One of the biggest events at the House was an international panel on muslim women and football. The session reflecting a story of frustration and exclusion of muslim women in France, the issue of the Hijab ban central to way in which they are marginalised.
One of the last events to take place was a gathering of participants from a roundtable on ethnic minority women in football with women from 16 countries across Europe.
The two-day event opportunity to develop a networking platform and covered topics including leadership and effectiveness training, strategy development and a look at the landscape for ethnic minority women in football.
A special mention to our partners the Open Society Foundation who helped fund the House and the many organisations who organised events, including: the Diambars Association (France); Ladies’ Turn association (France/Senegal); Afro FC (France); the European Gay and Lesbian Sport Federation; Les Degommeuses (France); the French government Secularism Observatory; the City of Paris; Collective Contre L’Islamophobie; Pride House International; LICRA (Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l’Antisémitisme); ‘Cause Commune’ radio station; Irrésistibles Français, the French national teams’ supporters group; and, the Sport and Citizenship think tank.