Written by By George Palmer, CNN
Emma Hayes, the England women’s football coach, has called for equality in football to be championed by campaigners across the UK.
Speaking in London at the launch of the Equality Act 2018, a government-backed campaign aimed at creating greater gender equality, Hayes said football must make “the most of a global platform” by making it better to be a woman in the sport.
“The eyes of the world are looking at us,” she said. “We need to lead the way in building an environment that is more accessible to women.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan called for an end to discriminatory ticket prices, and equal pay across football teams. Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Images via Getty Images
“Currently our country is lagging behind other countries, not only because we are not encouraging more girls to play football and have equal opportunities to work in the game but also because we’re creating obstacles that prevent women from reaching their full potential, including but not limited to discriminatory ticket prices, having less promotion opportunities, and gender stereotyping.”
Women are paid on average 11% less than men, according to the Equality Act
With equality between genders in football gaining more momentum in recent years, the campaign was launched at the “Twickenham Keys” radio talk show — named after a famous battle in the Elizabethan Wars of the Roses.
Home to England’s national soccer team, and currently renowned for its rugby club roots, the set up has traditionally had a more male feel. The Equal Opportunities Commission, the government body responsible for encouraging equality, has described it as “a fantastic way to discuss discrimination and how we can improve people’s lives.”
The Equal Opportunities Commission has since began a “great summer of football,” encouraging football fans to ask questions of men they would like to meet. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Images via Getty Images
This summer alone, the Equal Opportunities Commission has been holding “great summer of football” events, kicking off in a range of sports, including soccer, to create awareness and spark a conversation around gender equality in football.
This summer saw the Women’s World Cup — the most successful tournament for England’s women to date — take place.
Emma Hayes, the England women’s football coach, discusses the end of the W1. Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
Sports at the heart of equality
Education is another key area, which need to be addressed for young girls as they become fans of the sport, Hayes suggested.
She hopes that “soccer will become the rugby of the future.”