The need for inclusivity
Abuse of many different forms has become all too prevalent in football, sport and global society as whole. Recently sporting individuals, clubs and organisations took place in a social media blackout to make a stand against online abuse. Now though, a new movement has been started, specifically aimed at tackling the issue of sexism in football.
The #HerGameToo movement was started by 12 female journalists and content creators across Twitter. It brings to light some of the comments that they receive on a regular basis in its introductory video.
The movement’s Twitter account (@HerGameToo) has already gained almost 5000 followers since it was set up yesterday, and the video has been shared by clubs including Port Vale and Peterborough, who both stress the importance of inclusivity in football.
— Her Game Too (@HerGameToo) May 15, 2021
“Women are made to feel inferior on a regular basis when commentating on the game that we grew up loving. We shouldn’t have to avoid giving our opinions out of the fear it will just get disregarded.”
Sexism rears its ugly head again:
It is easy to turn a blind eye to the problem if we feel that we are not personally part of it, but it is still rife in football. Delve into the social media comments of any announcement surrounding female positions reporting, broadcasting, or commenting on football and the same themes are apparent.
The same can be said for promotions. You just need to pay attention to the replies to the recent announcement that Alex Scott will become the new Football Focus host to see the problem.
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) May 15, 2021
*Insert comment along the lines of “Oh but it’s just idiots on social media.”*
The truth is that whilst it happens a lot on social media, it remains rife in grounds across the country too. The FA Cup final between Chelsea and Leicester City, a game where only 10,000 fans could attend, was no different. BBC correspondent Natalie Pirks tweeted after the game about comments she received, just by virtue of her being a woman.
Today’s final was memorable for many reasons. But having fans back isn’t without issues. Today my crew were harassed because they work for the BBC, a man shouted sexual obscenities at me while I was reporting live and I saw a disabled man being pushed over by a large group. Sigh.
— Natalie Pirks (@Natpirks) May 15, 2021
Karen Carney, a female pundit on BT, has also been vocal about the abuse that she has received across the season, which led to her deleting her Twitter account. Speaking on air, she said:
“The only way I could make them understand was to say ‘do you want another Caroline Flack on your hands?’ Because that night that’s how I felt, and in that moment I could understand why she did what she did, because I could have gone to that place.”
No-one should ever have to feel like that, let alone due to the fact that they made a comment that would have been dismissed quickly if it were made by a man.
The beginning of something great:
The #HerGameToo is aiming to change that. Speaking to Caz, she was eager to suggest that there was much more to come, saying that:
“This video is just the beginning. We are hoping to grow this campaign and reach out to all members of the female football community”
There is encouragement through the beginning of this movement that more people can be educated on the topic and the traction behind it will grow. Yet another timely reminder that football is a game for everyone, and how it must remain that way.
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This article was edited by Tom Canton.
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