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Fighting the Stigma Against Women Football

Samia Abdurahman  Bsc Economics

A demeaning issue that some women footballers face alongside the sexism of football are racial and religion discriminations 

Sexism still exists in the world of football and there is indeed a stigma surrounding women in sport. As a budding footballer, I myself have experinced the constant shock of people when they see a black and muslim female playing football. However, women’s football has come a long way despite receiving little news coverage and attention, to now having over 1.12 billion viewers watching the Women’s World Cup in 2019. The Women’s World Cup exceeded expectations smashing records with over a billion views, showcasing that football is now entering a new era in the women’s game. Indeed, more recognition of women’s football needs to be seen in the media to tackle the stigma that women are not good enough or tough enough to participate in the sport. The gender inequality needs to come to an end. Despite this there is still a stigma surrounding women’s football, which needs to be eradicated and is still an issue being tackled today. 

There have been many amazing success stories within women’s football, however to no surprise such achievements have received no media coverage. In addition to this, women footballers face unequal pay, despite the 2017 agreement to bump women’s pay up, it is still far from equal. The football association figures show that there is a 23.2% gap between men and women footballers. This pay gap is simply due to being a woman, which shouldnt exist in 2019. Megan Rapinoe has been trying to tackle this stigma by calling on them to “fight like hell” until they achieve equal pay. Attitudes like this will help remove and tackle the stigma surrounding women’s football. The rise of women’s clubs has also helped in  making football more accessible. These are positive changes which will help to normalise women playing football. 

Alongside the sexism, women in football are also having to deal with racial and religious discriminations.The rise of racial abuse towards players has increased dramatically. One recent example was where Renee Hector, a talented defender for Tottenham Hotspur womens was racially abused by opponent, Sophie Jones of Sheffield United, making monkey noises at her . Despite the FA taking charge and fining the opponent 200 pounds alongside a five-match ban, the punishments and consequences need to be more severe as it is clear that their current responses are simply not enough. As a black muslim women playing football, l have faced barriers due to my religion. My decision to wear trousers instead of shorts has been frowned and questioned upon by referees and has even gone as far as potential disqualification. However, there is a reise of clubs that promote diversity. NUR WFC is the club I play for which allows women, like myself, to wear what they’re comfortable in and creates a safe environment where women can express their passion for football. It has given me and other women the confidence to not doubt our abilities despite having the rest of society against us. These are positive changes which will help eradicate sexisim in football or any other form of discrimination.

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