Bethany England

The international forward started her professional football career at the age of 17, playing for Doncaster Rovers Belles. She made her first team appearance for them on 23rd July 2011 playing in the inaugural Women’s Super League (WSL).

Since then she has gone on to play for Chelsea, and Liverpool on loan for the 2017/18 season before signing to her current club Tottenham Hotspur, scoring 126 WSL goals to date (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bethany_England). It was whilst she was playing for Chelsea that she received her first cap for the national England squad, going on to score 11 goals in 26 appearances to date.

Whilst her football career is well documented and celebrated, what is perhaps less well known is her advocacy for better conversations around women’s health, in particular the management of endometriosis, plus her desire to marry her girlfriend in a church.

During an interview for Sky Sports, she talks about her gratitude to Chelsea for enabling her diagnosis of endometriosis and management with medical intervention and a nutrition plan, to reduce what she once described as disabling pain which instilled fear every month. It is estimated that 10% of women are thought to live with endometriosis, which equates to 1.5 million women in the UK and 176 million worldwide. (Source Royal College of Nursing https://www.rcn.org.uk – Publications). It currently takes women in the UK, 7.5 years to receive an accurate diagnosis and help (source as above). She hopes that by talking openly about endometriosis, periods and menstruation it will encourage other women to start conversations and seek help. “Don’t be embarrassed about your body, you are beautiful as you are inside or out,” she says in the interview.

Bethany appeared recently in the BBC documentary “Gay Marriage and Me” where she talks matter of factly about her plans to marry her partner, Stephanie Williams, fellow international footballer for Oxford United WFC and Wales. She says “I’m quite an open book, I don’t mind walking down the street holding hands”. Planning their wedding next year she admits neither of them is religious but nonetheless says “it’s such a shame there is still so much work to be done to fight for our right to get married in a church”.

Breaking down social taboos over women’s health, pushing back on social media trolls and planning her same sex, gay wedding, we celebrate Beth England.

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