5 August 2019
Left to right: Jane Purdon, Debra Nelson, Vaishali Bhardwaj, Shannon Moloney, Flo Lloyd-Hughes, and Kieran Theivam © Brad Merrett
Women in Football contributed to the superb Jumpers for Goalposts festival, a brand-new two-day event on 3/4 August, attended by football fans of all ages.
Held at the Printworks in London's Canada Water, WiF's Events & Business Manager, Cassie Whittell and CEO Jane Purdon were two of the stellar panelists that shared their experiences and insights to an attentive audience.
Speaking at a two-hour workshop 'Alternative Careers for Women', hosted by Slowe founder Ro Jackson, Cassie was joined by Maggie Murphy (General Manager of Lewes FC), Alison Palmer (futsal coach and sports photographer), Lynsey Edwards (Premier League Charitable Fund), Ramina Calatayud (founder of Girls United FA), Vivienne Aiyela (Non-Executive Director, London FA) and Yashmin Harun, founder of Muslimah Sports Association.
The discussion was lively and heartfelt, with the panelists sharing their personal stories of how they came to work in football, the barriers faced in securing their dream jobs and the reality of what day-to-day life entails. There was an underlying theme of paperwork - and lots of it! - as well as standing up to those who still think women can't have a place at the top table of football.
The workshop remained positive though and speakers looked at how football can change lives and empower women and girls, with Vivienne speaking passionately about how diversity is key to moving the job market forward.
"I hope we got the point across that there are so many opportunities for women to work in this incredible sport," said Cassie afterwards.
"It was an honour to take part in such an exciting and diverse panel, and hopefully inspire women to take up roles in football - no matter their background or where they're currently working!"
Left to right: Maggie Murphy, Vivienne Aiyela, Yashmin Harun, Alison Palmer, Lynsey Edwards, Cassie Whittell, Romina Calatayud and Ro Jackson.
A little later on Saturday, WiF CEO Jane took to the main stage to discuss 'The legacy of the Women's World Cup' - a wide-ranging topic that was talked about by Lewes FC's Shannon Moloney, Football Beyond Borders' Debra Nelson, Flo Lloyd-Hughes from Women in Sport and journalist Kieran Theivam, hosted by broadcaster Vaishali Bhardwaj.
The panel were also asked some challenging questions by the audience with issues covered including reporting around the matches, the lack of funding for the next generation of players and how quickly the tournament seemed to have been forgotten by the media.
The panel spoke about the way the Lionesses were compared to the men's team - Jane making the point eloquently that this is almost the only sport in which this happens - and Debra talked about how young women need safe spaces to play and learn their craft, which is often neglected.
There was also a conversation about how we keep the momentum going, and how funding for the Women's Super League has increased; will this see a rise in attendances and thus ensure that the women's game begins to make money? Shannon Moloney talked about how giving away tickets to women's matches can be a bring in a new audience - but this has to be tempered with the financial realities of the game.
"There were some amazing panelists over the weekend," added Jane, “Some very pertinent questions were asked and important issues discussed openly and honestly.
"It was an excellent event and Women in Football were delighted to be involved."
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