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Attitude to Women in Football

25 Sep 15

I might find myself getting in to some hot water this week about something that Chelsea Football club is saying is an ‘internal staffing matter’.  Dr Eva Carneiro leaving the club may well be that, but it also has wider implications for how people in sport are treated, and how women in sport are treated.

It does end up being two slightly different things.  Many people dream of working in sport and would accept a level of treatment they may not if they worked elsewhere.  Women still face discrimination and face a challenge to be treated equally.

We are still at a very early stage of knowing what happened and we won’t know for a while whether she intends to take legal action or not.  It is going to be interesting to watch not just how the story develops in the next few days, but whether people are really that bothered

So, why should we care? Well for one is that there are not that many women who work in Football.  To get to this level takes a bit of guts, a tenacious personality and working your socks off (it doesn’t matter whether you are a man or a woman).  But lets face it the the attitude to women in football needs improving.  Some Premiership clubs support the women’s game and have half way decent contracts (but the women are being paid in a year what some of the men earn in 5 days).  And some clubs are quite simply rubbish.  

Just as there were (and are) campaigns to kick racism out of sport, there needs to be some serious thought to how women are treated in sport.  Not just the language used towards them (as that can be pretty offensive) but thinking about what opportunities are available to women.  Are they able to apply (and get) some of those top jobs?  Are they bring treated seriously when they get there? 

I worked in a sporting environment for a long time and it is incredibly emotive.  I have heard people say things that they didn’t actually mean in the heat of the moment.  But there is a difference between ‘having a go’ and saying something that is racist or sexist.  You only need to scan the papers to see what is meant to have been said. I am not going to repeat it because I cannot verify it.

Gender aside, we will soon find out whether her treatment was proportionate.  Until we know more details it is certainly not for me to judge, but I will be watching with interest. And good luck to the women who want to follow behind her, because this is not necessarily going to make it any easier


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