We need to talk.
It’s a conversation some of you might find uncomfortable, but isn’t that the point?
Conversations that challenge our perceptions and biases are what push us to grow as human beings.
So now that you’re ready, let’s dive straight into it.
Sexism in football, we can’t pretend it doesn’t exist. While we are making steps towards getting better at talking about it and acknowledging there’s a problem, we still have a fair way to go before football becomes a safe space for many women.
Women’s football is a tale of determination and progress; it’s come a long way from the days when women were banned from playing. We’re now seeing an explosion of talented players who are rewriting history with every pass, tackle, and goal. They’re breaking down barriers and proving that football skills and passion aren’t solely dependent on gender. Combine this with investments into training, increased media coverage, and growing attendances, and you’re witnessing an ever-evolving journey of growth that we should be excited about.
But here’s the uncomfortable bit. No matter how much we deny it, sexism is still very prevalent in the football community, and this is especially true online, which I recently experienced firsthand.
After England Women reached the World Cup Final for the first time in their history, I dared to tweet about the possibility of Sarina Wiegman being the next England Men’s manager, given her remarkable record and undeniable talent. I was fully prepared for a range of reactions, some positive and some not so much, but what I wasn’t prepared for was the sheer number of sexist comments that would get sent my way.
At first, I stood my ground, ready to have genuine conversations with people who disagreed. But as the insults continued and got more personal, I faced a decision: I either kept pushing or took a step back. I ended up choosing to delete all my tweets from that day, not because I was giving up, but to protect myself.
I’ll be honest, deleting the tweets felt like I’d failed at what I try to do with my online presence. I didn’t want to let these keyboard warriors win, but I also didn’t want their abuse to overshadow the joy I felt over how far women have come within football.
Sure, we’ve come a long way already, but tackling sexism is an ongoing battle that will take time to overcome. It’s up to everyone involved in football, regardless of gender, to create an environment where everyone feels welcome. We need allies, we need to stand up for each other and listen. If we work together, we can silence the negative voices within the community. Progress doesn’t happen if we all keep quiet.
With the World Cup final less than 24 hours away, England are on the verge of making history. This is the moment where, as a nation, we should forget gender and simply cheer for football. Imagine the joy that would reverberate around the country if they brought it home… again.
Their journey reminds us that the toughest battles are the ones worth fighting for most.