How far have women come in football?
Football is a sport loved by many of us, but it is safe to say that football has always been a male dominated sport. However in recent years women have slowly started to become an integral part of this sport. Now there are female teams-both at professional and amateur level, female staff working in and around clubs, and as well as female staff there are now female officials (referees, linesmen and fourth officials) working at each and every game. A prime example of this is Jacqi Low. Jacqi was recently appointed as chairman at Partick Thistle Football Club who is based in Maryhill. Although Jacqi has been promoted to this prestigious position, surely, she experiences difficulties every day. So, how far have women come in football?
One way that women are moving forward in football is that they now play professionally. An article was published by Katrine Bussey on Tuesday 26th December 2017 States that the number of Scottish women playing football has soared by 46% in the last 4 years, and at the same time as the country’s female team has gone from strength to strength. Scotland’s national team has girls playing for them from a variety of clubs such as Glasgow City, Hibernian (Hibs), Manchester city and FC Rosengard. Rachel Corsie of Utah Royals is Scotland’s Capitan and Kim Little of Arsenal holding the Vice captain honour. Joanne Love is Scotland’s current most capped player with 185 appearances. Jane Ross of West Ham United is the top goal scorer with 56 goals over her career. Scotland has recently qualified for the 2019 FIFA women’s world cup after finishing second in the group only 3 point off group leaders Switzerland. The fact that the girls qualified only 3 points off of Switzerland is such an achievement and therefore shows that women are exceedingly underestimated in football. Personally, I think this is such an achievement for all of the girls because I think that there is a stigma attached to Scotland and sports (that we are not very good) but I believe that these statistics speak for themselves.
Despite their obvious skill one thing that is stopping women from moving upwards is that there is such a big difference in pay between male professional players and female professional players. For women in the WSL (women’s super league) pay can go up to £35000 a week for top earners. However, last season (2017/18) saw Alexis Sanchez of Manchester United on the premier league’s largest salary of £350″,000 a week which adds up to 18.2 million for the whole season. As you can see Sanchez is clearly earning a lot more than the top earners in the WSL, therefore some people would say that makes Sanchez more important than the top earner in the same sport but for women. Some people would argue that the more you get paid means that you are deserving of more respect, whereas I believe that this is not the case. I believe that everyone in football should be treated with the same amount of dignity and respect. I mean, they are playing the same sport, aren’t they? Why aren’t they paid accordingly?
A second way that women are moving forward in football is that they are now commentating on the game. In the past most pundits’ tended to be male, but now there is a slow rising number of female pundits. Major companies such as Sky employ pundits to attend the matches in and around the UK and assign them the task of keeping the fans up to date with a running commentary. The game the pundit is assigned to that weekend will influence whether or not if they get the chance to be in Gillette soccer Saturday- the popular show where you can get live updates from all professional games in the UK. Bianca Westwood is one of the many pundits who work for sky and regularly attends matches. She has been working in the journalism industry for a long time and is not the only one: Michelle Owen is another one of the many reporters at Sky sports. I believe having more women commentators brings a refreshing side to sport.
A second way that women are struggling to come forward in football is that their ability is often underestimated. During the recent World Cup Eni Aluko was one of the commentators for the Costa Rica VS Serbia game that was due to take place later that day. After assessing Costa Rica on their defensive and attacking ability the former Manchester United star Patrick Evra seemed shocked at what she had to say. He then went on to compliment her analysis. This prompted a lot of discard from viewers. After a more thorough analysis from Aluko presenter Jacqui Oakley asked Evra if he was going to “sit here all day and applaud Enis punditry?” replied with “This is amazing, I think we should just leave Henri.” these remarks made by Patrick Evra have sparked a backlash of comments on social media about him being patronising towards Eni. This shows how women constantly feel as if they have to impress men to gain the slightest bit of respect out of them and when they do men just shut them down and make them feel useless and as if they don’t have a purpose. Why should women be allowed to feel like that? Like they are not good enough for the job? Aluko is a professional footballer just like Evra so it’s not as is she does not have a clue what she is talking about.
In conclusion I think it is safe to say that women have come really far in football as they are now allowed to do all of these different task but one thing that I believe has to be mentioned is that if a women makes a mistake when commentating then all female commentators are frowned upon. Why can they not just be called out on their mistake instead of everyone getting patronised for it. What about kirs Kamara? He doesn’t know what game he is at half of the time yet we all find it hilarious when he makes a mistake.