We need gender equality in sport if we are going to end violence against women.
The women’s Euro Championship has just started. It promises to be a thrilling tournament.
The great news is that it looks as if women’s football is having a moment. The final sold out almost immediately and 450,000 tickets have been sold for the whole tournament. Even so, due to long term lack of investment and support, women’s football is often viewed as the poor relation to the men’s game. Inequality is a driver for sexism, misogyny and violence. If it seems surprising that White Ribbon thinks the Women’s Euros are a big deal it’s because we know women’s sport must have parity with men’s sport for culture to change where women can live their lives free from fear.
Many things need to change; there needs to be better media coverage, and investment in salaries and training. And we have to tackle the appalling misogynist abuse that women footballers experience online, (something that even extends to those promoting the sport). We love the EE campaign to end the sexist hate directed against women’s football. the campaign includes ways to talk about being an ally and to challenge and change what happens online.
In the 20th century the FA banned women’s football from using grounds where men’s teams played. The FA has moved forward considerably since then – but it can do more. And at a time when men’s football has had several instances of footballers being accused and charged with acts of violence against women we need to see action from the FA to tackle the culture that allows this to happen. We are campaigning both for greater investment for women’s football and for significant attention to the culture of men’s football from the FA.
We will be supporting our women footballers all the way. And we are asking all our supporters, especially our White Ribbon Ambassadors to do the same. We can all make a difference – watch the matches – support your team – talk about it with your mates.