International Women’s Day: How Justine Thomson gets women and girls playing football
Justine Thomson is one of the many inspiring women that makes Albion in the Community what it is.
She works with AITC as the Women’s Recreational Football Officer, and her job is to provide opportunities for women and girls aged 16+ across Sussex to get involved in football, and to boost fan engagement.
Justine told us about what she does every day to get women involved in football: “We’re getting people together for social opportunities, exercising using a ball, walking football, small-sided football.
“There are so many more football-based activities on offer outside of the competitive format we see on TV.
“We want women and girls to step over the side-line, whether that’s participating, coaching, or refereeing,” she said.
“We’ve got some catching up to do!”
While the women’s game is making great strides, Justine says it is still “incredibly important” to keep the ball rolling and find female role models in the game.
“I meet women and girls all the time in my work, and I’m really lucky to meet a lot of inspiring female leaders,” Justine said.
“It’s really important that we have as many females as possible in our workforce so it’s a truer reflection of wider society.
“A more diverse workforce will benefit the game and open more opportunities for historically underrepresented groups in the future.
“It’s no secret that women’s football was banned for more than 50 years so some women have never had the chance to experience football… we’ve got some catching up to do!”
“I think it’s incredibly important that we engage women and girls in football, it provides so many benefits: getting fit, meeting new people, developing new skills and creating new leaders.
Justine’s role was introduced as part of the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 legacy project, with the country looking to take advantage of a high-profile international tournament taking place on our doorstep.
“The women’s game is growing so rapidly now, and the FA want women and girls of all ages to be able to access football. I hope that through the legacy project we see a new wave of women lacing up for the first time and realising football has a place for them,” Justine said.
“I’m really, really proud of the work we do here.”
To find out more about how we’re getting women and girls involved in football, read here: https://albioninthecommunity.org.uk/football-participation/developing-talent/women-girls/