At this moment in time, I felt it was important to write about sexism
in football. Firstly, as women’s football has been a subject of interest
personally for many years. I have been a coach in that part of the football
universe on and off for a few years now and the experience provides a glimpse
as to what the women’s game has to offer. Secondly, the issue of sexism within
football has showed up more recently and I predict with do so time and time
The most recent and frankly
astonishing moment where the wonderfully gifted Ada Hegerberg’s picked up the
first ever women’s Ballon d’or trophy, subsequently furnishing the audience
with a magnificently inspiring speech. Cue the grenade from DJ
Solveig with his stunning question
as to whether she can twerk?
Now the tabloids are well
known for their acute flair of sensationalising the most minor of
controversies, so I looked it up personally expecting a much lesser offence
only to be met by the very question he asked.
When we originally thought
about writing about this subject, I took some time to consider the possibility
of finding a balance, but it’s simply not possible. In no realm is this in any
way something that should have been asked. I also took the unusual measure of
discussing the matter with the female members of our highly talented and
inspiring group of writers (with great anxiety and distress), the general idea
was the feeling of embarrassment and then laughing the question off.
Another example would be my
native Scotland who have seen an accelerated improvement, recently peaking by
reaching the World Cup for the first ever time, finishing top of their
qualifying group. We are arguably the guiltiest of countries in terms of
whether women should be playing in the first place, the national team only
becoming an official entity governed by the SFA in 1998. The eternally grounded
head coach Shelley Kerr recently spoke of her own experiences, on one occasion a
photographer queried as to whether she could put on a pair of heels, a
comment that brought a look of disgust and state, “I don’t know why he
asked that question, he obviously missed his medication that day”.
Upon our visit to the
Euro’s in 2017, following the now retired Gemma Fay’s passionate speech about
how much affection she has for the national badge, she mentioned that reporters
present at the pre-match conference were in single figures, which just presents
a lack of value of such amazing progress.
Those are only two examples
as to how problematic this subject is, a gender equality pressure group have
recently claimed that complaints have grown by approximately 400%. This maybe
doesn’t really show that it’s a growing problem, what it does show is that
women are less afraid to voice their complaint.
A few years ago, when the
Lionesses made a major impact in their visit to Canada, the FA posted an ill-advised
tweet following their heroic performance, mentioning how they will soon return
to being “mothers, partners and daughters”.
Outside of football there
has been other questions asked, the BBC spring to mind. When the brilliant
Jodie Whittaker was appointed the task of Doctor Who it was met with great
applause and praise, taking another step in breaking down barriers. Unfortunately,
the famous corporation shot themselves in the foot by mentioning “its time”.
My question would be, when
wasn’t it time?
So overall, the margin of
progress has been great, plenty of changes have been made to encourage
awareness and positive change to move closer to that goal of equality, but
plenty of signs to indicate there is a long road ahead to achieve that goal.