Why Women's football needs more funding
Football : Is the gap widening?
It’s safe to say women’s football is gradually becoming a more valued and popular sport, however, it’s still a long way off from achieving the like-for-like support that men’s football garners. Sadly this is the case for many other sports that attract women to take part, which are often overshadowed by highly-successful male equivalent teams. Despite this, women have still been able to excel in a wide variety of sports, even when credit and funding have passed them by...
On many occasions, women have been known to excel in major sports events, often when their male counterparts have not. Take this year’s Winter Olympics 2018 in · Pyeongchang as an example, the women’s bobsleigh team sadly saw their funds stripped from them before they were even due to compete. The outcome? They achieved a better result in comparison to the men’s bobsleigh. It’s in the aftermath of results such as these that we need to ask the glaring question, why aren’t women’s sports receiving as much funding?
The Pay Gap
Many of the top male football players receive weekly salaries so obscenely grand, which when placed in comparison with a female footballers salary, strikes a monumentally disproportionate picture. Instead of earning £300k-per-week base salary like Cristiano Ronaldo for example, England’s women can be paid as little as £23k per year by the FA. However this is actually pretty much bang on the national average wage. After adding on their club contracts and commercial endorsements this still only totals £50k, which is the equivalent to the likes of Wayne Rooney’s day pay.
Still, women play for love of the game, not their bank balances. - The Telegraph
That’s only a snapshot of the shameful differences in pay and financial support for women’s football. Let’s look at why this is and why women’s football needs more crucial funding.
3 Reasons For More Funding
1. England’s Women’s Football Team Win More
Back in July 2017, England’s women’s football team took another massive stepping stone, showcasing their rightful place as a feature in premiership football. They reached the finals in the UEFA Women’s EURO and came second in the final of the 2018 SheBelieves Cup. Their track record of placing within the top 5 in major world tournaments exceeds that of the England male squad. Hence, it’s time to take more notice of the women behind the success.
Interesting Fact: “England women scored 13 against Hungary in an away World Cup qualifier a decade ago. England’s men haven’t scored ten goals in a game for more than half a century.” - The Telegraph
2. Women’s Football Is More Accepting
With amazing events like Gay Pride growing stronger in support and acceptance every year, with big brands like Skittles and HSBC getting behind it, it’s surprising that men’s football remains relatively intolerant the assimilation of different sexualities and races. Thankfully, when watching women’s football the presence of homophobic chants or racism comments are almost non-existent.
Women’s football has accepted it’s gay players which was highlighted when England’s Casey Stoney publicly came out. She was amongst several other high-profile football stars that openly talked about their sexuality and about the fact she was “no longer frightened of what people might think.”
"I've never hidden it within football circles because it is accepted.” "But to the outside world, I've never spoken about my sexuality." - Casey Stoney
3. Male-Focused Sports News
When you navigate to BBC Sport page, one of most utilised news platforms in the UK and click on the football section, you struggle to find even a single article focusing on female football. On the website, you can see that the term “football” is automatically identified as a male thing and if you want to see women’s football you must go to a separate subsection titled “Women”. It represents an uncomfortable hierarchy within sport that we must work to combat.
To find to it, you must navigate to the ‘football’ section and then peruse the sub categories displayed in the menu. You’ll come across 9 other categories including “Gossip”, a section which actually supersedes ‘Women’ in the category list, proving that women’s football is far from being prioritised on the site. It’s this constant separation that fuel gender discrimination and funding issues in sport.
Organisations for Women’s Football
With that being said, there are organisations out there that do actually support women’s football and create great campaigns like Girls’ Football Week amongst others.
Girls’ Football Week
Girls’ Football Week is a national campaign running from the 23rd-29th April 2018 and is aimed at getting as many girls as possible to take part in playing the beautiful game of football. A dedicated week to the promotion of women in football can be incredibly influential in help a plethora of new young women see football as a viable career.
These grassroots organisations are need much more to help embed the idea in the minds of everyone in society that women’ footballs is a equally as worthy of the platform that male football has been privileged with. If we all work to support small organisations and events such as this, we may have a chance of righting the sporting imbalance.
How Can You Help?
As A Parent
If your daughter shows an interest in football, whether that’s asking for a ball at Christma or expressed an interest in wanting to join the local club, take her passion seriously. Don’t dismiss your daughters sporting dreams or aspirations and try to encourage football as a fully inclusive sport for all genders.
By setting some realistic goals like that of joining a sports club or playing x amount of matches in the next few months, it can give them a target to work towards. This is a great way to ensure your child learns to measure their performance and meet targets, which can help them in school and in other aspects of their lives also.
Encourage Health Benefits
Highlighting the health benefits of a sport can be a driving force in ensuring your child stays active throughout their whole life as well as encouraging them to stick at playing football specifically.
Even if your daughter decides football is no longer the sport for her, she’ll have collected great knowledge of how exercise is great for the body and can set her up with the right mentality to continue living a healthy life in the future. This is a constant struggle in UK for the government and the NHS, so, in effect, you’ll be doing your bit to contribute to a better, healthier society.
As A Teacher
Support Real Talent
As a teacher, you’ll most likely be there for your students during the crucial stages of their formative years. You will get to know them, understand what they’re good at and learn their hobbies and interests. One of them might be football.
You don’t have to be a PE teacher to understand if a student has raw talent for football or not. Sometimes, seeing them have a kick about on their lunch break can be just enough time to realise if you should be encouraging them to take up the sport for real. So, what should you do next? Pass the message on to other teachers, get in contact with their parents, ask the students to take part in the school team and so on.
Promote Sports Clubs
Give incentives to your students to get involved with a lunchtime football club. Perhaps the students who take part can eventually go on team outings to compete in events or have football stadium tours. However, it’s important to offer these rewards over time.
For example, you could reward students who continue to take part for a certain number of weeks which firstly, can ensure that they’re committed to the team and aren’t just in it for a school trip and secondly, means for those who joined for this reason, will be subjected to the sport for a long period of time, helping them realise the enjoyment they can derive from playing football.
Sara Whitehouse, SEO and Content Editor at Stadia Sports
Stadia Sports are a leading UK manufacturer and supplier of sports equipment, offering a wide range of products including football goals, football nets and accessories.