7 July 2019

Coming from France’s next-door neighbour, RheinFlanke’s Judith Solf from Cologne, Germany, shares with us how Festival 19 has illuminated the effect that football has in bringing people together to educate, exchange, and empower. Read more in our Festival 19 pitch-side interview. 


How would you rate your community in terms of gender equality on a scale from 1-10?


I think it’s about 8 or 9 because, in my opinion, women and men are mostly equal in my community. Of course, there are some differences according to salary but, for the most part, women can be free and independent. We have the same rights as men. It’s just in some specific situations that there are differences that accentuate the disparity slightly, but overall, it’s a good place to live for both men and women.


How do we improve that score to become a 10?


I think to improve the score of gender equality, we should definitely adopt the initiative of equal pay for equal work: everybody should get the same amount of money for the same work. Overall though, a lot of aspects of life between men and women are very equal. Education is good, boys and girls can go to school, dress how they’d like to. I think that appreciating that is an important part of our lives, too.


What would you like to bring to Festival 19, for instance, a ‘way of life’ that you’d like everybody to take home with them?


I think a really valuable ‘way of life’ or mindset that would be great to share is best expressed through the phrase, “et kütt, wie et kütt”, or “whatever will be, will be” in English. To me, this means that everything happens for a reason and everything will work out well. For example, if you run into some trouble, you will find a solution. Maybe it’ll take some time, or it’ll be quick, but if you have a positive and optimistic mindset, you’ll reach your goals.


What has been your highlight of Festival 19 so far?


First of all, meeting young women from around the world, sharing experiences about both football and the lives they live has been so exciting. And secondly, something that I found really meaningful was the impressive film that was presented to us about the Street Child United football players because both watching the film and speaking with the girls here at Festival 19 enhances the meaning and impact of the film’s intention. You get a better view and opinion of the whole message and ideas around it. And although I don’t have the same issues or challenges because I live in Germany, it’s so amazing to see how they handle the situation and they make the best of it, having so much fun.


It’s also been great to step into my role as a young leader and as a role model, to have an open ear and be a helping hand.


If you had one crazy idea to change the world, one thing you could do or implement what would it be?


To give football shoes to everyone.


If you could choose a team of five people to help push the goal of creating a more equal world, who would you pick to be on your team?


Firstly, I would pick Adele because she’s my favourite singer and I think her heart is in the right spot. Secondly, I’d pick my best friend, Lara, because she inspires me. Thirdly, I’d have to choose Helmut, my colleague from RheinFlanke. He was the first guy I worked with and he’s a really inspirational kind of person. For my fourth, I’d like to choose Thierry Henry because he’s my favourite player and I think he’s got a humble attitude and knows what to prioritize in life. From what I see from him, he is quite laid back and displays sportsmanship on and off the pitch. Lastly, for my fifth choice, I'd choose my mum because, without her, I wouldn’t be here.

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