News   |    November 17th, 2021

Prejudice in Football.

With the advent of the Women’s Super League, we are finally making both positive and impactful strides toward a footballing community of equality between the men and women’s game. Further, not forgetting our very own Bianca Westwood, paving the way for female football reporters, Karen Carney, Jacqui Oatley and Michelle Owen are regular faces for Sky viewers.

Unfortunately, like all prejudicial opinions within society, despite extensive efforts to eradicate them, they are still apparent in some shape or form. Sky Sports recently conducted a survey regarding women attending men’s football matches, subsequently concluding that 1 in 5 women suffer from unwanted attention whilst in attendance. For example, 44% of those asked are told they ‘Know a lot for a women/girl’, whilst 34% receive sexist comments & unwanted physical attention. On the contrary, with females attending women’s matches, a reduced 14% are told they ‘Know a lot for a women/girl’ and sexist comments lessen to 13%.

Despite the percentage reduction from the men’s to women’s game, this type of prejudice most certainly should not be prevalent in today’s game. More specifically, why is there a difference? Football, whether it be played by males or females is the same game.

Sadly, 3% of the women who responded, when asked what should be done, said ‘nothing they can say what they want’. Football is regarded as an all-inclusive sport, and having women feel uncomfortable at football matches, not even challenging the untoward behaviour against them is completely unacceptable. 59% responded other fans should challenge them, alongside the clubs facilitating a way to condemn such behaviour, meanwhile 47% suggest the protagonists should face a ban/fine of some sort.

As a man I will say all men have a responsibility to say something if they see a woman being harassed in some way as do the clubs through their stewarding arrangements. If nobody speaks up to confront prejudice little will change. I am a university student and fighting prejudice head on at school and in colleges and universities is important also.

As a community we must support the inclusion of women in not just football, but any sport. This report confirms that equality for women is still not quite there, thus the Football Association need to draw up a strategy to support females when attending matches. In the meantime, if you are attending a game, whether it be a Premier League or local league competition, look out for one another and enjoy football as equals.

Photograph: Presseye/Inpho/Rex/Shutterstock

Alfie Bobbins - Integral Sports Management.

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