LibLink: Christine Jardine: The Women’s World Cup is a fantastic force for equality but it is only the start

The Women’s World Cup is on at the moment. Christine Jardine writes for the Independent about what this means for equality in sport.

As a child I loved playing football, and nagged my parents until they bought me my own football strip. But there were few people who didn’t find my girlish enthusiasm either amusing or something to frown upon.

This is why the knowledge that six million viewers thought it worthwhile to tune in to watch two teams enjoy a platform previous generations could only dream of filled my heart with joy.

But we are still far from equality – prize money, for example, is still much higher for men than for women:

The current Women’s World Champions – the USA – are pursuing a gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S Soccer Federation, with the help of the Time’s Up Movement.

That movement was started to fight for women in all jobs and walks of life and now aims to secure justice for the American team. The United States women’s national team is the best in the world and has been for decades. The team has been ranked No.1 by FIFA for 10 of the last 11 years, has earned more for U.S. Soccer than the men’s team did, but yet the players are still paid significantly less.

These athletes are being forced to fight for their rights at the same time as competing to keep the world title, rather than having the luxury of simply focussing on the tournament. Something female athletes have faced for as long as they have been involved, just ask Billie Jean King, Kathrine Switzer or Serena Williams.

You can read the whole article here. 

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6 Comments

  • Katharine Pindar 13th Jun '19 - 10:11am

    I love and still play football sometimes myself, so am all in favour of promoting women’s football. But I wish Christine as our party spokesperson on welfare had turned up at yesterday’s Commons debate on Inequality and Social Mobility, where she could have joined the SNP spokesperson in recommending Philip Alston’s devastating report on poverty and deprivation in Britain today and boosting his recommendations for urgent action. It was a case unfortunately of missing the ball.

  • It’s an interesting notion that “the Women’s World Cup is a fantastic force for equality but it is only the start”…… ‘Only the start’; is correct. It would be a good continuation of this start for Christine (as our DWP spokesperson) to give strong vocal support for the UN Report on Poverty in the UK – which stated :

    “14 million people, a fifth of the population, live in poverty. Four million of these are
    more than 50% below the poverty line,and 1.5 million are destitute, unable to afford basic essentials. The widely respected Institute for Fiscal Studies predicts a 7% rise in child poverty between 2015 and 2022, and various sources predict child poverty rates of as high as 40%. For almost one in every two children to be poor in twenty-first century Britain is not just a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic disaster, all rolled into one”.

    Sadly, the 300 young women (plus their little ones) who came to our local foodbank last month had other things on their mind than playing football – and politicians of all shades need to respond to this.

    Here’s a link for the report in full for those interested enough to read it :

    PDF]UK poverty – OHCHR
    https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Poverty/EOM_GB_16Nov2018.pdf
    16 Nov 2018 – http://personal.lse.ac.uk/sampsont/VoteInflation_TP.pdf; Joseph … https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/how-could-brexit-affect-poverty-uk …. degrading,13 and the Inquiry undertaken by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons

  • Sue Sutherland 13th Jun '19 - 11:54am

    I don’t understand why the Lib Dems failed to turn up at this important debate. Could someone please explain why our party didn’t participate? We are being accused of supporting austerity so why don’t we just come out and say we are against continuing austerity? We would have ended it 3 years ago. It’s another policy for the Bollocks to Brexit treatment in my view, not an erudite statement on detailed policy. New members are already asking about this.
    The North suffers from poor schooling as well as poverty so the usual avenue for social mobility is missing for many and urgent investment to put it right is required in the way that happened for schools in London. Please don’t let our party ignore Alston’s report like the Tories are trying to do.

  • Martin Land 13th Jun '19 - 1:31pm

    Perplexed. How can Sport ever be a force for equality when the whole point seems to be that we are not?

  • Richard O'Neill 13th Jun '19 - 2:14pm

    As a huge football fan, I’ve watched around three quarters of the games so far and have really enjoyed it. I hope it is a positive example around the world for girls (and boys) looking for role models.

    But, in simple terms, the women’s world cup generates far less revenue than the male version. The women’s game is already heavily subsidised by the male equivalent. In TV rights, tickets sales, merchandising it trails far behind it. I’m not convinced even in the US (which is a very much an exception) the woman do generate more money than men as claimed. The huge American TV rights contract for the world Cup was driven principally by the wish to watch the US men’s team (which they failed to qualify for in 2018!).

    If there is a real interest in modern equality, perhaps gender-segregated sports should just be abolished and men and women could compete freely against each other as they do in other fields.

    Beyond that why does our interest in equality mostly seemed to be focused at the top (boardrooms, politicians, Hollywood actors, sports stars) earning large sums, instead of making sure the vast majority of women closer to the bottom of the heap get a fair deal.

  • It is a shame that this article is not an article setting out what Christine Jardine had said in Parliament regarding poverty in the UK in yesterday’s debate on inequality and social mobility.

    While Christine is our spokesperson for Culture, Media and Sport I don’t think it is too much to expect that as our spokesperson for Work and Persons she would turn up and speak in yesterday’s debate and would have by now welcomed Philip Alston’s report and called on the government to implement his recommendations.

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