Nov 07, 2023

Making Sport Equal for Girls: How adidas Breaking Barriers Project is Changing the Game in Europe

Tune in for a recap on how the adidas Breaking Barriers Project is making strides in equal opportunities in sports.
by Eva Von BoenninghausenStaff

At adidas, we’ve long been a force for change, driven by our unwavering belief in equal opportunities in sports. Our goal is clear: we’re here to protect the places we play and make sport equal for everyone.

As part of our goal to make sport equal for all, we created the adidas Breaking Barriers Project to help break barriers for over 50,000 girls and women in Europe.

Started in 2020, the adidas Breaking Barriers Project set out to provide the sports industry with the necessary tools to lead change. Throughout Europe, we started working directly with nonprofit sports organizations and empowering local leaders and coaches, who are the Champions of our Project.

"The more there are projects like adidas Breaking Barriers, the more girls will participate in sports. The adidas Breaking Barriers Project has encouraged more girls to try different sports clubs and activities."

Magdalena BurczyńskaTrain To Be Good, Poland

Champions Ohne Grenzen Gives Women Confidence

Joining the Project in 2022 from Central Europe, Champions ohne Grenzen (CHoG) is a Berlin-based organization that supports new arrivals to Germany and establishes a welcoming and lasting culture of diversity. As part of their work with the Project, CHoG gathered to put on an event that gave women the opportunity to gain confidence and independence through a camping trip. On a weekend filled with community, outdoor activities, and, of course, lots of football, girls were able to have new experiences and connect with peers and mentors.

We got to hear from the women and girls about their experiences and the impact of discovering their strength through sports — especially regarding the importance of keeping girls in the game. Watch the video below to hear more from Champions ohne Grenzen.

Greece Takes on Gender Inequity with Organization Earth

Further down south, Organization Earth joined the Breaking Barriers Project to enhance sports for girls and women in Greece. This civil society organization raises awareness around sustainable lifestyles in urban areas, including outreach through sports programs. The Champions organized multi-day events with activities and sports for people from all backgrounds to learn new sports and get to know their community. From judo to Zumba to dance, Organization Earth is bringing people together, all while allowing girls to claim their rights and participate in various sports.

Watch the video below to hear from our Champions and attendees on what these events meant to them and how they envision an equal future for girls in sports.

En Frisk Promotes Active Lifestyles and Leadership Skills

Finally, up north, the Breaking Barriers Project was joined by En Frisk Generation, a nonprofit organization aiming to inspire families with lower socioeconomic status to cultivate a more active and healthier lifestyle in Sweden. In a two-day camp for girls, Champions worked with attendees to improve their sports and leadership skills.

In a world where many girls don’t have access to sports or feel out of place when they do, En Frisk Generation created a space where girls could learn and build confidence, all while having fun. Check out the video to hear from the Champions themselves on why this event meant so much to them.

"Sports has made my life more colorful by getting to know new people."

Marie JackEn Frisk, Sweden

Spotlights on Groundbreaking Equality Initiatives

In addition to the incredible work our nonprofit partners are doing in their communities, the Breaking Barriers Project was featured on the adidas YouTube channel as part of the OCEANUZ TV series. Football legend Toni Duggan introduced our audiences to Champions Leanne Bates from Goals4Girls in the UK and Mace Pena from Balon Mundial in Italy, showcasing how the Champions and their organizations break barriers and bring equality to football by providing girls with development and mentoring programs.

"Football provides a platform for communication and unity as it allows us to share our values with the community and brings everyone together in one place. This is where the work of Balon Mundial begins, as we aim to change the world by building connections within our community."

Mace Pena RamirezBalon Mundial, Italy

The Journey Continues with a New Cohort of Nonprofit Partners

In 2023, the fourth year of the Project, we onboarded three new nonprofits, helping us reach our goal of 15 total nonprofits who are receiving training and funding for their own community projects through the great work of more than 100 Champions. All across Europe, we are growing the number of people who are making sports equal for all, and have reached over 45,000 girls as a result so far.

The Breaking Barriers Champions and staff concept, create, and host events funded with grants from adidas.The Breaking Barriers Champions and staff concept, create, and host events funded with grants from adidas.

A Long Way to Go, But a Promising Future

Every day, we witness the remarkable achievements of girls and women in sports, as they shatter barriers and redefine the possibilities.

"“I know there is a world that we can create where everyone gets the opportunity to play football, a world where people don’t have to think twice about whether they will be safe."

Leanne BatesGoals4Girls, UK

If you’re ready to take action and make your own community more inclusive for all, enroll in our Breaking Barriers Academy course Becoming a Gender-Equitable Leader in Sports here.