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By Taruka Srivastava, Freelance journalist

July 5, 2022 | 3 min read

Euro 2022 sponsor Heineken has roped in Ellie Taylor, Harry Redknapp, AJ Odudu, Karen Carney and Jermaine Jenas for a campaign that tackles gender bias and stereotypes in football.

‘The 12th Woman’ was developed by creative communications agency Cow and sees the stars urging fans to rally behind their national teams with a twist on the term usually associated with collective, passionate fan support: the 12th man.

The ensemble of Taylor, Redknapp, Carney and Jenas bring attention to the gender imbalance in football language and encourage other fans to join the ’12th Woman’ movement for the tournament.

The slogan T-shirts sported by the stars are available on Amazon for £12, with all profits donated to the Women in Football organization.

’The 12th Woman’ is part of a wider ‘Passion Knows No Gender – Cheers To All Fans’ campaign, in which Heineken is challenging bias and promoting equality in football, on and off the pitch and across all male and female Uefa competitions.

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.“

Karen Carney, who played 144 times for England, said: “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.“

Harry Redknapp added: “When I was playing professionally it really was a man’s game – women were banned from playing football in 1921 and the Women’s Football Association wasn’t even established until 1969. Thankfully times have changed, and in a big way, and I’m really proud to be a 12th woman and to wear the T-shirt for all to see.“

Yvonne Harrison, chief executive officer at Women in Football, said: “We’ve been really impressed by Heineken’s commitment to addressing gender inequality in football. That’s what Women in Football is all about too, so it’s fantastic to team up with it on the ’12th Woman’ campaign. Every action that supports our work and amplifies our message helps to level the playing field and make football a fairer and better place.“

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