Check Out These New Shinguards That Promote Maternity In Women’s Soccer

Cheerful female soccer players celebrating victory at the stadium.

On the eve of the Women’s FIFA World Cup, “Panenka” magazine, the shin guard manufacturer Flekick and the FUTPRO Spanish footballers’ association have unveiled a new set of shinguards as part of a “Guard Your Rights” campaign to draw attention to maternity in women’s football.

The shinguards have one of three messages printed on them:

  • “Every female player should be allowed to take time off to breastfeed the baby or express milk in a suitable and private location.”
  • “Every female player who becomes pregnant has the right tp receive her full salary until the moment she decides to begin maternity leave.”
  • “Every female player who becomes pregnant has the right to resume football activities after maternity leave, following confirmation by specialists.”
'Guard Your Rights' shinguards
‘Guard Your Rights’ shinguards

According to a recent study presented by FUTPRO, which asked professional players about motherhood in football, 46% stated they’re concerned about getting pregnant due to the possible repercussions from their club. More than 60% are afraid their contract will end and more than 40% think they would be discriminated against when playing. And most importantly, 100% believe that clubs need to promote changes and implement actions for reconciliation between family and work.

In it to win. Shot of a young female soccer player holding a soccer ball.
Photo via Envato Elements

“The time has come for women’s football to take bigger steps in important issues like maternity and to establish sustainable bases that allow players to have that peace of mind in such an important area for many women,” says Amanda Gutiérrez, president of FUTPRO.

A woman’s body is not the same as a man’s.

'Guard Your Rights' shinguard
‘Guard Your Rights’ shinguard

“A woman’s body is not the same as a man’s,” she adds. “We need this gender perspective for women’s football to reach its full potential. Actions like the one we have done with Panenka and Flekick help us give visibility to this problem that currently exists in the football industry and bring the public closer to the players’ problem.”

Panenka CEO Álex López says:

“Football must be used as a platform to create a better society. Over all these years we have carried out initiatives against racism, homophobia or climate change. In 2023, when football played by women is starting to be where it deserves, we must continue fighting to make it visible, and we must fight to conquer all their rights: maternity is a real obstacle for the development of the players’ careers who do not have that right protected and projects like ‘Guard Your Rights’ are essential to achieve it”.

Why shin guards?

Shin guards are the only object that protects players on the field. The ‘Guard your Rights’ shin guards will also protect them off the field. Hand in hand with the manufacturer Flekick, a model has been designed in which some of the necessary clauses to achieve an agreement that properly regulates maternity in football can be read. A percentage of the sales of these shin guards, which can be purchased in specialized stores, will go to finance measures and projects that guarantee the protection of maternity in football.

According to Lluis Valls, CEO of Flekick:

“We have always been clear that the protagonists are the athletes. We revolutionized the world of shin guards, creating a unique product to protect the players and through this project we want to go a step further looking for protection both inside and outside the field. Brands have the obligation to get involved in initiatives that help society.”

We have always been clear that the protagonists are the athletes.

The creators of the campaign, Marc Xifré and Víctor Vázquez, creative directors at Ogilvy Madrid, underline “women’s football is evolving very quickly, and we need that evolution to be in all areas. Unfortunately, motherhood has not been one of those areas of focus. With ‘Guard Your Rights’ we want the organizations to listen to the players and reach an agreement that protects them when it comes to being mothers.”

Cheerful female soccer players celebrating victory at the stadium.
Cheerful female soccer players celebrating victory at the stadium.
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