If you watched the Women’s European Championship recently I’m sure you will agree that it was nail-biting stuff! Thrilling to see the women players do so well. Does their performance over the weekend signal a new era in undermining patriarchy and promoting equality in sport and wider society?
You can’t take anything away from the victory, effort and skill of these athletic women. My cynical head, argues that a part of the reason for their progress now, is how televisual they are! They have increased their own potential to generate income. More money, of course, means greater investment and that investment will improve the game and in turn, make the England women’s squad more marketable.
The England team victory is not just about football. They have also taken huge strides toward countering decades where a sport and industry has been completely dominated by men. This article in Elle from 2019, argues that women football players are, “Paving the way for gender equality.” The author there was speaking about the Works Cup and England’s loss to USA.
I’m not going to try to convince you that society and its structures are largely misogynist. We recognise that women are less likely to be in high-paid jobs than men That is pretty obvious even if you only look at football! This article reports the highest paid female footballer earned a bit more than £432,000 in a year whereas Lionel Messi is reported to earn £62,000,000 a year! Those are both the highest of higher earners but the gap between them is extreme!
Almost 90,000 people attended the match at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, 31 July 2022. The highest attendance for any Euros final for the male or female game! This football squad not only won the match, they won the hearts and minds of thousands of people all of who enjoyed a thoroughly engaging game.
The English squad showed the world that women can perform as competently and with as much heart, skill, and determination as men when they are given the space to perform and the appropriate levels of resources, support and backing.
What we need now is for this hard-earned and well-won refreshing taste of equality to permeate other areas of society. For women to have the opportunities to win! How do you feel about that? Do you think this sporting achievement will make a difference? let us know in the comments. Having said that if you find yourself battling against the odds in a male-dominated world, maybe it might help if you had someone to discuss that with. Make contact with us here and see if there are things that you can do to develop your confidence to compete and to help you consider any obstacles to progress in your own life.