‘I AM THE 12TH WOMAN’ – Tackling Gender Bias In Football

An unlikely group of celebrities to star in a new campaign from Heineken® that urges all fans of football to declare themselves the ‘12th Woman’ – starting with this summer’s UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 tournament.



Ellie Taylor, Harry Redknapp, AJ Odudu, Karen Carney and Jermaine Jenas are all showing their support for the beautiful game by becoming the ‘12th Woman’.


This eclectic all-star squad was enlisted by Heineken®, Official Partner of UEFA Women’s Euro 2022, to be ambassadors for its new ‘12th Woman’ campaign.


Throughout the tournament, Heineken is rallying fans of all genders to get behind their national teams by displaying a twist on the term usually associated with collective, passionate fan support: the 12th man.


The ‘12th Woman’ is part of an ongoing campaign by Heineken® which shines a light on bias and challenges stereotypes in football culture.


Heineken is releasing an official ‘12th Woman’ tournament t-shirt – as worn by its celebrity squad – for public sale. Fans can wear the t-shirts to show their support at home, in pubs and at UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 matches


Stephanie Dexter of Heineken® commented: “For so long football culture and fandom has been influenced by the men’s game. So, while the women’s game has grown massively, a legacy of terms such as ‘man on’ and the ‘the 12th man’ continue to dominate.


“Meanwhile the ‘12th woman’ is relatively unheard of. We want this campaign to help close the gender phrase gap in football language, but also invite a conversation about the entrenched bias and inequality that persists across football culture.”


Karen Carney, who played 144 times for England, added: ‘There are 11 women on the pitch who are giving everything to win for their country.


“Knowing that fans are cheering them on in the stands, at homes and in pubs across the country makes a difference and that’s why being a 12th Woman and saying it aloud really matters. Football fans’ approach to this tournament could be a major stepping-stone to real change in terms of how we all talk about football.”


With two-thirds of women in football having experienced gender discrimination*, Heineken® is on a mission to evolve its sponsorships in the sport by addressing harmful stereotypes which are perpetuated by an outdated footballing phrasebook.


Stephanie Dexter, concluded: “In its aim to be the most inclusive football sponsor, Heineken® is inviting supporters to confront the bias and promote equality. We’ve created this campaign and, with the support of our ambassadors, we hope that the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 is the first step in changing the way we think and speak about sport. We can see a future where football is just called football, no matter who is on the pitch or in the stands.”


Heineken®’s first move in correcting the gender bias in football was to address inaccurate statistics present across the internet that are often the source of the prejudice and by interrogating the unconscious bias in the songs sung, match reports written and even the encouragement given.


‘Fresher Football’ is a webpage in partnership with GOAL that provides correct responses to the most popular questions asked online about the UEFA Champions League.


It includes key data and statistics on the women’s game, which are often overlooked. The aim of Fresher Football is to encourage search engines and fan sites to recognise, amend and update their current information to give accurate answers, regardless of gender.





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