Kick for equality

UNDP joins UN Bhutan team, Bhutan Football Federation and RENEW for 'Kick for Equality', a campaign kicking off 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence.

November 26, 2023

'Kick for Equality' is a multi-sectoral collaboration aimed at harnessing the power of football in tackling gender-based violence.


Gelephu, 26 November 2023: In a groundbreaking multi-sectoral collaboration to harness the power of sports for social change, the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in Bhutan and the Bhutan Football Federation (BFF), in partnership with RENEW launched the innovative campaign ‘Kick for Equality’ aligned with the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment through football.

The campaign launch was marked with a friendly all-women football match involving national women’s football and representatives from the community in Gelephu. 


Women footballers say no excuse for gender-based violence

UNDP Bhutan/Norbu Choksum Zangmo


The ‘Kick for Equality’ is one of the many key activities under the UN Bhutan- BFF 'Football for the Goals Initiative', which was launched in October this year.

“Empowering women and girls is not just a goal; it is a fundamental necessity for building a sustainable and equitable future. In our effort to leave no one behind, we must prioritize women and girls. The UN country team in Bhutan stands unwaveringly committed to supporting the Royal Government to ensure every woman and girl can live free from violence. Together, we strive to ensure that no one is left behind on the path to a more just and inclusive society," said Karla Robin Hershey, UN Resident Coordinator.

“Despite concerted efforts driven by a strong political commitment coupled with a supportive legal and policy framework, addressing violence against women and girls remains a challenge in Bhutan. A study done in 2017 by the National Commission for Women and Children in partnership with UNDP showed that 30 % percent of women and girls reported experiencing one or more forms of violence and the prevalence was higher among younger women. In 2021, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the reported cases of gender-based violence rose by 53.5 percent," said Mohammad Younus, UNDP Resident Representative. "At UNDP, elimination of violence against women and girls remains a key priority. We will continue to work closely with the Royal Government and partners in preventing and ending all forms of violence against women and girls. There is no excuse for gender-based violence.”


'Kick for Equality' campaign will harness the power of football to promote a gender-equal and violence-free Bhutan.

UNDP Bhutan/Norbu Choksum Zangmo


As a call to action to amplify support to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the campaign recognizes a unique opportunity to leverage the power of sports, specifically football, to advance the SDGs. 

The campaign aims to:

  1. Raise Awareness about Gender-Based Violence: The campaign will utilize football-related content and engagement to educate the Bhutanese population, especially youth, about gender-based violence, challenging stereotypes, and encouraging reporting.
  2. Promote Behavioral Change: By using football as a platform, the campaign aims to encourage sustainable practices related to gender equality and gender-based violence.
  3. Engage Young People as Agents of Change: Empower young people in Bhutan to actively advocate for and implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), leveraging their enthusiasm for football to drive positive social change and challenge societal norms.
  4. Showcase Female Role Models: The campaign will highlight female athletes as role models, breaking barriers, and inspiring young girls to participate in football and other sports, fostering inclusivity and teamwork.
  5. Foster Multisectoral Collaboration: Collaborate with various sectors in Bhutan, including government, civil society, and private organizations, to jointly address social issues, using football as a unifying platform.

The campaign will run through the 16 Days of Activisim, which ends on the Human Rights Day on 10 December. 

As a call to action to amplify support to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the campaign recognizes a unique opportunity to leverage the power of sports, specifically football, to advance the SDGs.


The campaign aims to promote female athletes as role models, breaking barriers, and inspiring young girls to participate in football and other sports.

UNDP Bhutan/Norbu Choksum Zangmo


The following are the campaign activities planned:

#OrangeTheWorld TikTok Challenge: The TikTok challenge encourages users to share stories, perspectives, and messages of support for the 16 Days of Activism. 

Women in Sports Panel Discussion: A panel discussion featuring prominent female athletes and leaders in sports will be held in Thimphu. The discussion will focus on breaking stereotypes and inspiring dreams, empowering women through sports.

Bodyright Campaign: Bhutan will also join the global Bodyright- own your body online campaign to stop online body abuse. Bodyright is a social movement that asks us all to take gender-based online abuse seriously. The core of this online and social media campaign is the bodyright symbol. This symbol can be added to any image of a human body directly on social media or any other digital content sharing platform. The aim is to drive tech companies and policy makers to take the violation of human rights and protecting bodily autonomy online as seriously as they take copyright infringement.

The Strength of a Woman: To celebrate the achievements and challenges of Bhutanese women, a panel discussion with leading Bhutanese women will be organized who will provide insights into their journeys and contributions to society.


About Football for the Goals: Football for the Goals is a UN initiative that engages with football stakeholders and major actors to leverage the outreach power of football and the sport’s global footprint in advancing sustainability, equality, human rights and climate action by promoting actions and practices that support achieving the SDGs. Football for the Goals | United Nations

About the SDGs: The 17 Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by world leaders at the historic Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015. Encompassing everything from health to gender equality and education, the Goals are mobilizing efforts around the world to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change by 2030, while ensuring that no one is left behind. Fast Facts - What is Sustainable Development? - United Nations Sustainable Development

About 16 Days of Activism: The global 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is a key international moment to call for an end to violence against women and girls. It runs from 25 November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) until 10 December, Human Rights Day. In focus: 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence | UN Women – Headquarters