Fulham FC’s director of safeguarding and inclusion saw a sizable gap when it came to providing female staff a safe space to grow in their profession and her efforts are changing the workforce well-being landscape.

Eleanor Rowland sought change following an incident 18 months ago when a female coach was sexually harassed during a session by a male adult.

The passionate changemaker established Fulham FC’s female working group as a result, to tackle societal issues and empower women within the workplace.

Speaking at the Women’s Health Summit at Craven Cottage, hosted in partnership with Elevate and Women in Football, Rowland revealed that the group now has more than 50 active members as she looks to inspire other clubs nationwide.

She said: “A lot of women go through the same experiences, and they didn’t have space to talk about it, so we decided to set up a female working group.

“We started off with three or four individuals from a coaching background and it’s expanded from there across all sectors of the club.

“We have so many discussions from merchandising to creating pathways for our female leaders.

“We’ve got a real appetite from the management boards at Fulham Football Club to invest in females and bridge the gender pay gap, which we are definitely on an upward trajectory with.

“A number of women have said that this has changed how they feel about coming to work now and that they’ve got more ambition than they’ve ever had before.”

Rowland spoke on a panel at the Women’s Health Summit as other sessions throughout the day focused on physical and mental well-being, stress management, nutrition as well as open discussion.

Women in Football are a professional network representing 9,000 members working in and around the football industry who support and champion their peers.

Rowland added: “To hear that people are genuinely feeling more enthusiastic and motivated, it makes me feel more and more ambitious and feel that I can do this.

“We’ve talked a lot about being a superwoman, it’s interesting hearing about what society’s expectation of women really is.

“It’s excellent to be working with Elevate and Women in Football, we’ve got great working relations with them, and I hope that we can do more in the future.

“It feels like it’s the start of something great and we’ve definitely got the appetite to do more.”

Women in Football CEO Yvonne Harrison praised the safe and open space created by Fulham FC at Craven Cottage to host the important panels and presentations around female health.

Harrison admitted the day helped her take on board key pointers to continue to drive positive dialogue within her personal and professional life.

She said: “It was a fantastic occasion; our members have talked so much about the value that they’ve got out of the day.

“Whether it was learning about personal health, nutrition and how we fuel our bodies, coping mechanisms with stress, or responsibility as leaders to bring these conversations to the fore, it’s perfectly normal for female, male and non-binary colleagues to be talking and socialising the idea of female health.

“My mind was buzzing with so much new knowledge, and I’ve really taken away things that I can do personally to improve my performance, protect my space, and equally inspire my team as well.

“It’s not something that we’ve done before, Elevate bring a whole range of different expertise into our organisation which ultimately will benefit our members who have learned so much.”