The Swedish Football Association, along with its main sponsor Svenska Spel, has reported that 50% of players and coaches believe menstruation is ‘difficult to talk about’, according to a recent survey.
Through a new initiative, All days, the gambling company outlined the pair’s mission to ‘break the taboo’ surrounding menstruation and get more girls to stay in football during puberty.
The aim of the initiative is to increase knowledge and understanding of the menstrual cycle in relation to football, as associations get trained in the topic as well as women’s health – beginning with four pilot associations.
These include: BK Forward from Örebro, Valinge Derome DFF from Halland, Kroppefjälls IF from Dalsland and Umeå IK from Västerbotten. Additionally, Swedish player Caroline Seger has become an ambassador for the initiative.
Seger commented: “Menstruation should never be an obstacle to playing football. I know for myself how I stood there on the field, uncomfortable about wearing white shorts. Or how you skipped a workout just because you had your period.”
“There is a huge need to increase knowledge and awareness of women’s health and how we can best adapt training and other match preparation activities. That’s why I think that All days is a super important initiative and something I really look forward to being a part of.”
Furthermore, the pair asserted that a central part of the initiative is to also teach organisations how to adapt and optimise training regardless of where in the cycle a person is.
“There are many important initiatives underway within the sports movement around Sweden,” added Head of Sustainability at Svenska Spel, Kajsa Nylander.
“But there is still work to be done when it comes to a level playing field. Educating about the menstrual cycle and breaking taboos around menstruation contributes to our goal that everyone should have the same opportunities to practise their sport.
“We are also convinced that such obvious things as all training bags containing menstrual protection as well as plasters and that girls do not have to train in white shorts, can make a big difference for many.”
During spring this year, the four aforementioned pilot associations will work closely with the Swedish FA and research coordinators to gain insights into how training best adapted to the players’ menstrual cycle.
The firm explained that these associations receive menstrual kits for their team bags and dispensers with menstrual protection for their changing rooms.
After this, the pair aim to evaluate the efforts made during the pilot period to then roll out a national training for coaches and players of different ages.
“We want football to be accessible to everyone,” concluded Per Widén, Head of Education and Development at the Swedish FA.
“Association football is the biggest in Sweden and therefore we must take our responsibility to increase gender equality in Swedish football and ensure that more young girls continue in football even when they get their periods.
“The goal is for as many people as possible to play for as long as possible, and in as good an environment as possible. By guiding the associations and developing aids, together with Svenska Spel we hope to break the taboos that exist today.”