Author Topic: To what extent are women victims of discrimination in women's football  (Read 1142 times)

Offline tajeyboi

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Hi guys, above is the question I am doing a presentation on in french and was hoping you could help me. I'm focusing on the gender pay gap, lack of female teams, lack of media coverage and the reduced sponsorship of female footballers compared to males.
I need help looking at what the current situation is like with the above, why it is like that and try to propose some solutions.

Also, this is specific to france so I want to compare the situation of women's french football with that of other countries and whether france is better/worse etc

All responses appreciated.
merci en avance


Offline sbahnhof

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Figures about the media are a bit hard to find, but I got thinking about an interview I read recently with Barbara Slater, the BBC head of sport:

Quote
The statistic she returns to again and again during our interview is that 48% of the 12.4 million audience in [the 2015 World Cup] had not previously watched any women’s sport. Each new convert to the game “changes the status quo”, she says. ... When I point out that just 7% of all sports media coverage is of women’s sports she says that, for the BBC, that figure is closer to 30%.

That article also has a link to a bit of info from WomenInSport.org - from before that World Cup, but probably similar to now. The BBC's coverage may be "closer to 30%" female, but especially the news media have been shockingly bad in this regard (2%).

- https://www.womeninsport.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Media-Stats-Pack-June-2015.pdf

Also, this is specific to france so I want to compare the situation of women's french football with that of other countries and whether france is better/worse etc

Not sure about the pay gap and the other issues, but it seems to be better supported and better promoted in France, if the CL semis are anything to go by. Lyon and PSG (and Barça) can all hope to get 14,000 fans or more, while Man City got 3,600 on Saturday.

Offline buzzbee

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There is often a call for Women to get paid in line with men in many sports. There are two issues though IMHO…
1) The product is not of the same quality! I am a WSL supporter and enjoy it very much, but in reality, the best women’s player in the world would not get close to playing league football with men. The quality of Women’s football is improving every year, but it will take many many years for it to even come close to an equal standard. In truth, the full time professionals we have in the game now are of a similar standard to part time men and it could therefore be argued that Women’s football pay exceeds the equivalent in the men’s game
2) Top men bring more money into the game than top women! This CAN change, but again, it would take many years to implement. Male players are bigger stars, idolised by many youngsters and adults alike. Sponsors will pay silly amounts of Money to have their product endorsed by a top male footballer, because their investment will be recouped as a result of that endorsement. In addition, crowds at men’s games are massively higher and paying higher ticket prices, bringing in more revenue. As crowds are so much bigger, sponsors are more interested

I love the Manchester City model, where the women’s team are very much an active part of the club! I’d love to see my club (Reading) adopt the same. IMHO, this is where equality should be – Use of the same facilities and resources. But IMHO, there is no valid argument for top Women’s players to be paid in line with top Men’s players
BUZZ BEE
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Offline tajeyboi

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thanks for the replies they have been very helpful. Have a couple more questions that I hope you can help with. Why women's football receives less coverage than men's and any possible solutions to this?
Also, why there are less female teams than men and a possible solution to this?
Cheers for the help

Offline buzzbee

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The coverage simply comes down to demand!
The men's game is hugely popular and established. TV companies will cover this, knowing they will get massive viewing figures. Commercial TV companies will also note that huge viewing figures means huge advertising possibilities. As I mentioned in my previous post, as much as I enjoy watching the WSL, men's football is a better quality and will attract more spectators, both live and on TV.

Regarding the number of teams, I would say this simply comes down to the men's game being far more established! The Women's game is being taken far more seriously now than it was 20 years ago and as a result, there are far more women playing it, but it is only in recent times that the women's game has really been pushed. The men's game has been big since the 19th century.

In England, the WSL clearly has a policy, which all WSL teams buy into, of trying to involve local junior girls clubs on match days, encouraging WSL players to spend time with the girls, be available for autographs and selfies and be real role-models, to encourage these youngsters to take up the game seriously. I think this is a very positive aspect of the WSL, which will increase participation over a period of time and hopefully increase the number of senior clubs
BUZZ BEE
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Offline croc

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I think if you want to look at discrimination you need to look at the history and social background.    Whilst women in sport generally attract less attention than men partly that is down to it being deliberately held back in the past - if you look at football women were not allowed to play on FA affiliated grounds, in Brazil it was actually illegal for a woman to play football - and this is within my lifetime.   

It's a bit of a dead end comparing the quality of the womens game and the mens - no womens team will ever be able to beat even a low level semi pro male side because of the difference in strength, speed, power, size etc.    That shouldn't stop it being good to watch - I must admit I don't really find it great but that's because of the lack of atmosphere and the style of football. 

Offline sbahnhof

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Yeah, being banned by the FA for 50 years didn't help. Some really good thoughtful replies here.

One other recent article that may help. By the way, the answer to the OP is definitely "a large extent".

- https://offsiderulepodcast.com/2017/04/14/sexism-in-football-can-the-abuse-ever-be-stopped-035/

We hear about Kick It Out and the importance of fighting racism in football, but does any country have the kind of anti-sexism campaign that Michelle Owen proposes?

Offline buzzbee

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Michelle’s article is interesting, but seems to be about a different subject – Sexual abuse, rather than sexual discrimination. Neither should happen, but I consider the abuse to be far less acceptable!

Sexual discrimination of the type in the OP are largely because there genuinely is a difference between male and female footballers, their abilities and their appeal to the general public. So far, this thread has correctly identified historical reasons for this being the case. However, the simple fact is that IT IS the case. Women do not have the same abilities and the women’s game does not pull in the same level of interest from the public and this is why there is, and IMHO should be, less money available to the players

However, ABUSE is never acceptable! Some of this may also be down to historical views, but unlike the difference in abilities, this subject is something that CAN be changed in a relatively short space of time!

One thing that is tough is defining at what point something becomes abuse, because what is abuse to one isn’t necessarily abuse to another!

At WSL games, I often hear talk from guys about which players they find attractive. At our game against Man City on Sunday, a City fan I know missed most of the game, because he was busy watching Toni Duggan warming up.

I will hold my hands up and say that, while it’s not the reason I watch women’s football, there are certainly some players I find very attractive and I have certainly had conversations on the subject with various friends, both male and female

The problem is that this is a huge tool for the WSL! The girls are available for selfies after, which often draws a mix of young girls wanting selfies with their heroes and guys (And sometimes girls) wanting selfies with girls they find attractive. This brings fans in, the clubs know it and will use this to promote the women’s game. You see lots of photos of the more glamorous players used for marketing!

And this is where there is a grey area, because many of the players will enjoy a bit of attention, will maybe flirt slightly and will be flattered… by the same behaviour that will make other players feel very uncomfortable! What is flattering to some will make others feel like they are being viewed as little more than pieces of meat!

It’s a tough one to call! Do we treat women’s footballers like women? Do we embrace the differences and make the most of their femininity? If the answer is yes, then we also encourage behaviour that SOME (Minority or majority is debatable) will not be comfortable with. If the answer is no, then a valuable marketing tool is lost, along with the fact that many of the players WANT to be feminine

It’s all a very tough subject and there is really no answer, because the views, the tolerance and the wishes of those on the receiving end are not all identical!
BUZZ BEE
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Offline Welsh May

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There's good read "Women with Balls" if you want to read about women's history in football?. Sadly until people go and watch women play then they wont be the larger input of cash or larger salaries. At this point, the players we see, are the best in the women's game, as they are in tennis or other sports. If we endlessly compare women to men then we get nowhere. Its women's football full stop?. Respect it for what it is and enjoy. If we endlessly say its poor then why would anyone fancy going and watching it?. As people have to go and pay to watch, otherwise it remains 'grassroots' with a WSL label?. Numbers at matches bar the top few are poor. The FA strategy isn't working because it was assumed within 2 years the WSL would have large crowds (think it was expected to be 600 in year 1 then 800 in year 2). Supporter bases take years to develop and the strategy needs broader thinking in my mind and the money injection of course. Man City buy in Carli Lloyd for £250k and County closes due to £500k debt, (losing their regular 1000 audience I might add) all a bit mad if you ask me ...........
I like it in the States where equal numbers of boys and girls get sports scholarships? Its a start as it adds a value?.
In terms of the attractiveness nonsense, hmmm, all women are feminine, don't get that point? We need to stop allocating traits to gender and accept some 'people' benefit from being seen as attractive, some people flirt, some people are handsome, some want or don't want attention, some people letch, some admire, yah de yah. IMO

Offline RFA

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Comparing some of the worlds highest paid sportsman with what are often semi professional and amateur players is not fair. The ladies game will never rival the men’s game but that doesn’t mean that it is not an enjoyable product to watch.

Back to the real point of the debate which is discrimination against females. It doesn’t bother me too much that male adult footballers get paid more than ladies, I suspect that will always be the case. I don’t see that as discrimination, its hard economics. However, I am very bothered about discrimination at junior level. Without having to think for too long, I remember cases within academies of the training facilities offered to boys being state of the art whilst the girls had to make do with school pitches and other substandard facilities. I even heard that for one girls academy, their match day kit was handed down from the previous year boys team (I don’t know whether this is true). You will not have to dig too deep at RTC or grass roots level for many examples of girls being treated as second class to the boys.

Offline croc

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In terms of the attractiveness nonsense, hmmm, all women are feminine, don't get that point? We need to stop allocating traits to gender and accept some 'people' benefit from being seen as attractive, some people flirt, some people are handsome, some want or don't want attention, some people letch, some admire, yah de yah. IMO

I'm surprised anyone would go to a football match and spend time discussing the attractiveness of the players.   Maybe it's just me but it's not something that really crosses my mind if I'm watching women's football - I mean baggy shorts and football shirts aren't exactly flattering there are probably  more women looking attractive in the crowd than on the pitch! If I'm watching football I'm there for the game whether that is women or men.