Sexism in women’s football

Sexism in women’s football is a persistent problem that negatively effects the progress and equality of female players in grassroots and at a professional level. Joey Barton, a former professional player who’s in the public eye, is a prime example of a sexist figure of the women’s game. Barton makes many headlines across different news outlets and has very controversial opinions about the England lionesses success, and even attacks individual players, such as Mary Earps.

Joey Barton claims England’s men would beat the Lionesses 30-0 in a single half of football, after calling for women to ‘stop trying to ruin our game’ in a sexist social media rant. This statement caused Barton to clash with several analysts, commentators and pundits featuring in coverage of the men’s game. Alex Scott hit out at Barton, while Emma Hayes launched a scathing four-minute monologue against male privilege in the football industry.

Joey Barton launches another vile sexist rant – and urges women to sue him; the former premier league midfielder has received wide spread of critism for his comments on women in football and football broadcasting. Barton claims to refuse to dial down on his vile comments. The former player hit out at ITV and compared female broadcasters like Eni Aluko and Lucy Ward to serial killers. He then went on a massive twitter (X) rant about female players, “the players all talk. They’re like women in that regard. They tell each other everything. They brag about conquest.” ‘We’ve worked really hard for years to get to this position’ females are upset, Barton wrote during lengthy social media post. “Your knickers are in a twist. Unfortunately, I know where all your skeletons are buried”.

Mary Earps believes Joey Barton’s sexist views reveal ‘what people across the country think’ with the England and man united keeper one of his latest targets are she had won BBCs prize. The former Manchester city and Newcastle midfielder claimed he would score ‘100 out of 100 penalties’ against Earps, saying her award success was ‘more than f**king nonsense.’ In an interview with the march issue a womens health uk magazine, the Manchester United keeper backed comments by Chelsea womens boss Emma Hayes – indirectly addressing Barton remarks – that women’s football is ‘routinely used to dealing with systemic misogyny.’  

Sexism in womens football does not only occur at a professional level it also happens throughout all stages in a football career.  Aimee Kilpatrick, first year at Marjon university not only plays for the uni team but also plays for Luton town ladies. Whilst playing for Luton, she and the team experienced sexism. “We had a home game against Colney Heath ladies where a situation occurred before the match was supposed to start”. “Right before the referee was about to blow his whistle for kick off the groundsman came over and called the game off. The reason for this was because Luton men’s team had a training session the day after our match was meant to happen. The groundsman said their training session took more of a priority and they didn’t want the pitch to be ruined”.

Female players aren’t the only victims of sexism, female officials and referees also suffer. Sophie Donald, second year at Marjon university not only plans football but also is a qualified referee and officiates male and female matches. Throughout her refereeing career she has many personal perspectives on sexism in a male dominated environment. “Sexism is a massive issue for referees, but it is slowly deteriorating”. “Last weekend I officiated a match and you just get men who refuse to like you and won’t treat you equally. At full time I shake the players hands as a sign of respect, and some of them would just walk past and ignore me”. “Some male football players and teams in grassroots still don’t believe that it’s right for female referees to officiate male games and are still not accepting which I think is completely wrong”. “This distraught my self esteem and confidence, which leads me to overthink how I’m perceived during the match”.

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