Women in Football Survey Press Release

8 March 2016

Women in Football Survey Press Release

On International Women's Day it’s hard to believe there is still an industry where the number of women who are victims of sexual harassment has doubled; where some women are banned from areas at work preventing them from doing their job properly and where almost half have experienced sexism in the workplace. This is the world of females working in football, according to a survey published today by Women in Football (WiF).

The ground-breaking research, conducted by Professor Sue Bridgewater who runs the highly acclaimed LMA Diploma course for football managers and teaches on Liverpool University's Football MBA, reveals that just 10 per cent of females working in the sport believe enough is being done to improve their opportunities in the industry.

And 70 per cent believe they have to be better at their jobs than - not simply as good as - male colleagues if they want to succeed in the football workplace.

WiF followed up their hard-hitting survey of two years ago in a bid to identify whether women are achieving their full potential in this sector and - if not - what can be done to address this. And while the latest survey found some improvements on its 2014 findings there are serious grounds for concern including an increase in some aspects of sexism at work.

Sixty per cent of those surveyed agreed that opportunities for women in the football industry are improving but the majority - 90 per cent - still believe that more could be done to increase the chances of females not only breaking into the sport but getting opportunities once in it. More than two thirds also feel under pressure to be better than male colleagues if they want to succeed or earn promotions.

Worryingly 61 per cent of respondents have still witnessed sexism in the workplace compared to 66 per cent in the 2014 survey with 46 per cent - almost half - experiencing it themselves although that figure is down from 57 per cent two years ago.

Almost a quarter - 24 per cent - had personally suffered bullying with 15 per cent claiming to be victims of sexual harassment, more than double the 7 per cent found in 2014. Around a fifth - 19 per cent had actually been barred from certain areas on the basis of their gender - compared to the 7 per cent WIF found in 2014.

Similarly almost a quarter - 23 per cent - across all sectors of the industry, feel their appearance is judged over their ability to do their job and 15 per cent believe they are expected to look glamorous at work.


Women in Football

“Two years on from our first ever ground-breaking survey on women’s views in the football industry, the message is loud and clear: still not enough is being done to support women employed in the sector, or protect them from discrimination and abuse. With twice the number of women reporting sexual harassment and banning from certain areas within their own workplace, WiF urgently calls on the governing bodies of the game to work together to bring football into the 21st century and make it a safe, welcoming and progressive industry for all women to work in.”

Moya Dodd, FIFA ExCo Member & Vice President of the Asian Football Confederation

"The Women in Football survey results show just how much we needed the gender equality reforms recently passed by FIFA. They now need to be implemented and embraced, to challenge the culture of the game so that the whole talent pool can be harnessed, not just half of it."

Heather Rabbatts, FA Board Member and Chair of FA IAB

We still have a considerable way to go before there is a level playing field for women working across the game. Surveys like this are a good indicator of where the industry is on some of these critical issues and incidents of bullying, sexism and sexual harassment, must be dealt with whenever and wherever they arise in the game.

“I know first-hand however, that the experiences of many women in the game are increasingly positive; there are more women than ever before, working in and making a fantastic contribution to football, both on and off the field.

“As Chair of the Inclusion Advisory Board, it is our job to oversee the delivery of clear actions to improve all aspects of diversity, including more women at every level in the football workforce. I am confident we will continue to make progress in this respect."

Click here for Anonymous Survey Quotes from our 2016 Survey.

Survey respondents

505 women coaches, match officials, administrators representing clubs in all four professional divisions in England; Scottish and Welsh clubs too; players; doctors, physios; lawyers and agents, football media, football PR and sponsorship, members of the FA, County FAs; Premier League, Football League, non-league and not-for-profit organisations.

About Women in Football

WiF is a network of over 1,500 professional women working in and around the football industry. We aim to improve women's representation at all levels of the game by:

– Celebrating women's achievement

– Challenging discrimination and lobbying for change

– Sharing professional contacts, advice and expertise


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© Women in Football 2016

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