International Women’s Day: Isha Kamara

Thursday 8 March 2018 is International Women’s Day and a time to encourage collective action for driving gender equality.

The theme is #PressforProgress, a strong call to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.

At Palace for Life Foundation, we have been hearing from some of the women from the CPFC family who #PressforProgress in their everyday lives and careers.

Isha Kamara plays for Palace Ladies FC. Since playing for Palace, she has also travelled to Sierra Leone to coach a boys team, supported by her teammates and the club with donations, kit, boots and balls. Isha and the Palace Ladies have supported a number of Foundation events, with many of the players attending sessions during Girls Football Week last November.

Isha Kamara holding up a #PressforProgress sign

When you were younger, how easy was it to find an opportunity to play football with other girls?

I found it pretty easy as I participated a lot in football whilst at primary school although that was mainly with boys. However, during secondary school I was able to play more with girls my age and eventually got more opportunities with the Millwall football clinics.

Who were your role models growing up?

I grew up playing football in my local adventure park, Leyton Square in Peckham. Most of the time I was the only girl but the coaches didn’t see me any differently, so I would say Steve Martins, Scott Ellis, Jamie Chessmen amongst a few others are my role models. These are the people that guided and developed me into the player I am today.

What have been your highlights since you started playing for Palace Ladies?

My biggest highlight is coaching the Crystal Palace Girls U9 team alongside the opportunity to play each week with a bunch of wonderful girls within the Palace set-up.

What challenges (if any) have you faced as a woman in your career and life?

Personally, I haven’t faced many challenges, I have been around great team set ups. Maybe the only challenge I faced was trying to combine education and football – it was important to balance the two.

The slogan for this year’s International Women’s Day is #PressforProgress. How do you #PressforProgress and aim to inspire girls and women through what you do?

Where there were a lack of female role models growing up, I would say using my platform to engage with younger girls and building their confidence is important. It is important to identify with them and remove the stereotypes of what girls can and cannot do so that they feel free to aim high.