Moya Dodd believes prejudice remains a common misgiving in football following a Women in Football survey conducted in the U.K.
Dodd, who played football for Australia from 1986-95, is a member of FIFA’s Executive Committee and chair of FIFA’s Women’s Football Task Force had a few thoughts she was happy to share with us, noted as particularly “worrying”.
What’s the worry?
The survey results should be deeply concerning to all in football, especially in the British game where most of the survey respondents work.
More than half the respondents have witnessed sexism in the workplace. Fifteen percent say they are sexually harassed – more than double the measure two years ago.
And women continue to report bullying and sexist banter that has no place in any modern workplace.
What’s the worry in Football?
On the field England’s women have hit greater heights in international competition than their men have in decades, yet football continues to barricade itself in a male-centric world.
This is despite FIFA passing gender equality reforms, making “the development of women’s football and the full participation of women at all levels of football governance” a top-order objective.
The game overall remains difficult and even hostile territory for women, yet the Premier League has thrived by attracting diverse players and coaches from all over the world – a kaleidoscope of talent.
Women Face Hurdles to being part of the world’s greatest game
Women coaches continue to be overlooked - even in the women’s game – let alone the men’s. It’s a shocking waste of talent.
In the Premier League, you are more likely to get bitten by Luis Saurez than be coached by a woman.
Access for girls would be normalised, pathways would be well-developed, off-field roles well accepted, and committee rooms would enjoy the kind of balanced decision-making that only diversity can bring.
The disastrous intervention of the FA in 1921 to ban women from what was, even back then, a highly popular activity. Could women now be enjoying the fruits of decades of participation and development, and a rightful, unquestioned place in the most influential sport in the world?
The Good News is:
The only good news here is that in football, there is always another game and it’s never too late to improve.
By embracing the whole community on and off the field – women, minorities, the differently abled – football will be stronger.
Make a stand
Next time you hear a gender-based insult from a football suit, or see the abilities of a black or female coach discounted, or watch a girl to leave in disappointment at not being included in her local club, you might like to intervene.
You might have just observed the moment when England lost the person who would have won it the World Cup.
Exclusion makes football weaker.
Isn’t it time that all those in the football pyramid took individual and collective responsibility to act always and only in the best interests of the game?
Sport is the relentless pursuit of excellence. Football needs the whole talent pool. Women and minorities are a powerful part of that solution.
Moya Dodd is a partner at Gilbert+Tobin Lawyers, a member of FIFA’s Executive Committee and chair of FIFA’s Women’s Football Task Force. She played football for Australia from 1986-95. These views are her own. @moyadodd Facebook.com/moyadoddfootball