Football & gender equality at School

Name:  Heidy Ovalle

Age:  15

Place of Birth: La Mesa, Cundinamarca

Grade:  9th, High school

Years at the school: 7

Gender violence in Colombia is one of the main issues that arose from the years of   armed conflict. In 2012, women were the victim of abuse every 30 minutes. Sadly, this violent behavior against women is being replicated at schools. Many little girls are victims of physical and psychological abuse from their male peers.

Heidy Ovalle, a sports-loving girl in 9th grade, suffered psychological abuse at her old school when she was 7.  She wanted to play on the school football team but she was not accepted because football was “just for men”. “My male classmates always ignored women’s opinions and they never took us into consideration for team decisions. Teachers were not interested in promoting gender equality and I felt powerless.”

In 2007 Heidi’s father decided to enroll her in the Anatolí School because he had heard about the quality education there. Today Heidy is part of the female football team that recently won the interschool sports competition in Cundinamarca. Heidy says that teachers at the school encourage gender equality and are mindful of student opinions.

 “My favorite subject is sports. I love football and I play as a forward.”

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