Huge Moment For Women’s Football by Dan Smith
To show how much I want to promote Women playing Sport, I have Miedema’s name on the back of my Arsenal shirt. So it would be wrong to preach about Diversity in Football, and then not use this platform to discuss a crucial topic in the Women’s game that is developing this week. Hopefully, it leads to a discussion which is the best way to spread awareness.
Attendance and viewing figures of the last two World Cups have shown interest in women playing the sport is growing. In 2018, the Super League was formed allowing more ladies the chance to turn professional in this country.
Arsenal have been one of the best at marketing their females, giving them time to show their personalities on YouTube and including them in advertising. Yet behind the scenes there’s still strides to be made in equality.
There’s some things you can’t change. One sex carries a baby, the other doesn’t. A male can make 100 babies and it won’t impact on his footballing career. Naturally, someone heavily pregnant physically will be prevented from playing (training as much) for a while. Those are facts we can’t change.
What clubs can do is look after someone on maternity just as much as someone who was injured. Yet they don’t!
As things stands, there is zero procedure in exclusive FA Contracts where they have to provide anything else but the minimum statutory requirements. Their stance is; It’s up to the individual club if they want to be more supportive.
Just think about how much money is in the game.
On one hand owners are trying to make money off these girls by seeing a gap in the market.
Every international tournament we pat ourselves on the back for how the game is growing. Yet in reality the players are only entitled to statutory maternity pay (which is 6 weeks of 90 percent of your wage, followed by 148.68 for the next 33 weeks).
Incredibly though, one of the policies FIFA want to get over the line is deterrents for any employer who is punishing someone for having a baby.
This is why discussion is important. Without it I wouldn’t realise that in 2020 there are players scared to be pregnant, fearing it will cost them their job. Just think about that.
The World’s Governing Body feels the need to threaten clubs with fines and transfer embargos if any player is released while pregnant. That shows you it’s been going on.
If England’s Lionesses hosted a tournament it would be watched by millions in the UK and Wembley would be full.
Think about how much money people are making yet they can’t afford to look after their own players?
To this day Katie Chapman insists she feels her contract was cancelled the moment she shared her good news.
Siobhan Chamberlain though credits Man United for looking after her during her pregnancy when they were legally entitled not too.
New laws would see clubs grant a minimum of 14 weeks leave (8 after birth), on two thirds of their salary.
This isn’t just about a financial debate; it is more about protecting the future generations.
It’s about that little girl at school who has role models to show you can be what you want to be. Not just the literal idea of someone they can relate to being on the pitch but seeing the sport stick up and fight for equality.
In 2020 a young female should not have to choose between her dream or starting a family. It shouldn’t be a case of one or the other. Imagine the added mental stress of wanting to start a family but worrying what your boss will say? Essentially having the power to rip up your contract and send you home.
It’s been sad to read about the amount of players scared to inform their manager of their pregnancy out of fear of it undermining their careers. In some cases players have had contracts terminated for that reason (under the changes of rules that will be stopped).
FIFA, current players, me writing this, you reading it. We are doing this for the next generation. In 10 years’ time an 18-year-old will have a sport where she can make a decent living and be treated with respect.
We will be the trail blazers, and this legislation from FIFA could be viewed as the day Women Football was treated seriously.