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Including Girls Soccer Teams in Ethiopian Sports Federation of North America
Petition Background (Preamble):
ESFNA is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization founded in 1984 to promote amateur soccer and cultural events within the Ethiopian community in the North America. One of its goals includes providing positive role models for the youth.
The focus of the main event is the men’s soccer tournament. It should be renamed Ethiopian Men’s Soccer Federation in North America (EMSFNA). It contains no girls’ team and the only sport is soccer. The federation doesn’t promote sports to the community year-round. Perhaps, we should create a new organization known as the Ethiopian Women’s Soccer Federation in North America (EWSFNA)
ESFNA, is refusing to include girls and not appreciating the efforts Future Generation African Girls Association has been doing to include girls.
The documentary film production tells the Ewnete (means the truth in Ethiopia) story when our team of girls wanted to be included. The news paper article told our story more than once.
While visiting an Ethiopian festival in Washington, D.C.,
Anisa Adem's daughters watched the men and boys playing soccer. The year wasn't 1970 or any year before Title IX, which provided girls with equal opportunities in sports activities where the organization or education program received Federal funds.
It was 2001 when Adem's American-born daughter asked, "Mommy, why is it that we can't play soccer? Because I see all men – I don't see any women. Is it our culture, or is it Islam?"
Shortly after, Adem put together a girls' soccer team in hopes they would compete in the Annual Ethiopian Sports Federation of North America tournament in Houston. The federation had 27 teams, all men. Adem started two girls' teams and designed their uniforms so they represent the Ethiopian flag. They went to Houston for the tournament only to discover they weren't on the schedule.
The experience motivated Adem to create a non-profit organization to empower girls. She started the Roba Ethiopian American Girls Soccer Association, named after a famous female Ethiopian athlete, Fatima Roba. They prepared for the next tournament, which was in Seattle. The organization has since been renamed as the Future Generation African Girls Association.
The Ethiopian community and the Mayor of Plano supported the organization. Mayor Pat Evans helped the group with publicity and fundraising. The group raised enough funds to cover the expenses of 46 people making the trip to Seattle.
But the story changed upon their arrival. They discovered the girl’s team would have to play a team made up mostly of boys and their game wasn't at the prime time of 3:00 pm as the federation had originally scheduled. Instead, they were to play at 10:00 am, two hours before the other soccer matches started.
The Ethiopian Sport Federation in North America Association held its 25th annual soccer tournament in the Washington DC during the week of July 4th in 2008.
Girls soccer Tournament was scheduled for the first time in the history of the Ethiopian Sports Federation for 25th years.
Will the Girls teams will be part of ESFNA 27 men teams or just for the show. Do we continue the tradition of shunning a girl's team or make strides? Although the Ethiopian girls and women have enthusiastically supported the tournament, the focus of the main event is the men's soccer tournament. There are 27 men's teams and no women's teams. Furthermore, the organization's board members consist of all men.
American Association of University Women
Women's Sport Foundation
For more information, contact:
Future Generation African Girls Association
3941 Legacy #204
P.O. Box 214-B
Plano, TX 75023
ESFNA needs to promote the development of girls'/women's soccer and pledge to financially support women's soccer and to give women players the opportunity to become actively involved in soccer.
ESFNA should help make the game more popular by increasing public awareness, conducting information campaigns, and improving women's standing in society by lowering social and cultural obstacles for women.
The Ethiopian society has a certain level of equality for women and you can’t pass that level. ESFNA’s definition of equality is the following:
1.. The host city will organize boys' and girls' teams from different age groups and different soccer skill levels, and let them play off hours. Currently, there are 27 men's teams and no women's teams.
We need to start with four or more teams with the same age groups and similar soccer skills and add two or teams every year. Most of Girls players are girls born from First Generation Immigrants. They need an organization to organize them they are not adult like the male team FGAGA organized Girls Player from Dallas, Arlington, Plano and Huston. Provided Coaches and the Coaches went to Seattle tournament Paid Airlines and Hotel Expenses Paid Uniforms Expenses.
The organization has spent years trying to let girls to play at this annual event and share the spotlight with men.
FGAGA goal was to start a Dallas team and Seattle team and eventually to add two or more teams. By know, we would have more than 10 Girls teams. ESFNA destroyed the ideas by discouraging our efforts.
2. The Federation used to give a $5000 scholarship to only players. Because of Future Generation African Girls Association (FGAGA) struggles, the Federation added a non-player scholarship in 2007 for all other students of Ethiopian origin who aren’t eligible for a player scholarship. The men/boys have two kinds of scholarship opportunities and the women/girls have one. The women/girls should receive both types of scholarship. We need to have girls' teams so that the girls' can qualify for a player's scholarship.
3. The organization's executive board members consist of all men. We do not have women on the board. If we had women on the executive board: They would pledge to bring a resolution to the conflict in ESFNA. Women will be sensitive to issues and show concerns.
4. The organization's board of directors has had only one woman. To be elected or to elect, you have to be a team leader. We do not have a girls' team, therefore women won't have a chance to elect the executive committee.
5.The women's/girls' teams should receive the same benefits the men's/boys' teams receive.
ESFNA did not give us publicity, which would lead to encouraging others to do so.
We request that the Ethiopian Soccer Federation of North America:
1. Add a girl's soccer bracket to the tournament;
The host city will organize boys’ and girls’ teams from different age groups and different soccer skill levels, and let them play off hours. Currently, there are 27 men’s teams and no women’s teams
2.Give women/girlsboth types of scholarship.
The Federation used to give a $5000 scholarship to only players. As a result of Future Generation African Girls Association (FGAGA) struggles, the Federation added a non-player scholarship in 2007 for all other students of Ethiopian origin who aren’t eligible for a player scholarship. The men/boys have two kinds of scholarship opportunities and the women/girls have one.
3. Add women to the ESFNA executive board;
The organization’s executive board members consist of all men.
4. Add women Board of Directors
The organization has 54 board directors but has had only one woman.
5. The focus of the main event should be the youth;
6. The young generation needs role model
That they can relate, Instead of bringing guest honor from Ethiopia only or honoring the old generation, brings the Ethiopian American role model.
Making empty promises to young girls is inexcusable and excluding women from the game of soccer is unacceptable!
The Including Girls Soccer Teams in Ethiopian Sports Federation of North America petition to ESFNA: Ethiopian Sports Federation of North America was written by anisa adem and is in the category Gender Rights and Issues at GoPetition. Contact author here. Petition tags: girls, ethiopian, soccer, federation, equality, anisa