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Women in Football launch new phase of growth as two thirds of members working in the industry report gender discrimination

8 October 2020

Women in Football launch new phase of growth as two thirds of members working in the industry report gender discrimination

Women in Football has undertaken its biggest-ever survey and in response to findings that two thirds of women have experienced gender discrimination in the workplace, we are today restating our purpose with a new manifesto and brand.

The results of the joint collaboration with Sports Marketing Surveys, sent out to over 4,000 members, reflect just why Women in Football is as relevant today as ever.

It also shows that while progress has been made in some areas, there is still plenty of work to do to ensure that the football industry is equal for all.

Alarmingly, our survey shows that two thirds (66%) of women have experienced gender discrimination in the footballing workplace, with 34% witnessing but only 12% of incidents were reported.

Furthermore, our survey indicated that when problems were reported, they were “brushed under the carpet” with the mis-used term “banter” the most common form of discrimination. Some 52% of respondents have experienced or witnessed this and a further 82% said they have faced obstacles in their football career.

The good news, however, is that 78% of women say they agree or strongly agree that they feel supported by their colleagues in the workplace, with a further 66% feeling supported by their employer. Over half of our members (59%) believe that their organisation celebrates female talent. 

We have listened to our members, we will continue striving to be a driving force in the football industry which is why we are restating our purpose with a renewed manifesto and a new brand to reflect our mission, explained here.

What we do: We’re working towards change on an institutional level, because harnessing the best talent, whatever it looks like, is fundamental to the success of the industry. As a network of women and men, dedicated to driving women in football forward, we teach women how to hone and fortify their talents and abilities. We throw open the doors for more diverse talent and, most of all, we are dedicated to working together to transform the industry.

How we do it: We have a vibrant, growing and engaged member community. We run bespoke Leadership Courses and offer coaching and mentoring that help upskill and support our members on their career pathway. These are now more accessible than ever and are also available online. We host career workshops, round table discussions and topic-relevant webinars which are free and accessible to all members. We offer support to women who are experiencing discrimination in the work place.

New programmes: We are launching a new corporate membership scheme to support employers in becoming more gender inclusive. We have increased to two the number of recipients of the Vikki Orvice Memorial Directorship Scheme and are in advanced plans to launch a Women in Football Youth Council, enhancing the opportunities for young women.

Chair of Women in Football Ebru Köksal said: "The feedback we have received from women about the issues they have faced in the industry makes for heartbreaking reading. One story of bias, outdated perceptions and outright bullying is one too many.

"There is still a lot of work to do to ensure that women are encouraged to forge careers in the industry and this is where Women in Football will continue to play a big part.

"It is our intention to drive the agenda forward together and to harness the power of our joint expertise, knowledge, skills, and experience to create improvements for all in the industry now, and for every person who will join in the future.”

CEO of Women in Football Jane Purdon added: "We are continuing to grow as a dynamic organisation that is a focal and vocal point for women working in and around the football industry, and those who wish to pursue a career in this area.

"We are entering a new phase of growth with the purpose and passion about what we do and what we stand for, reflected in our new look and the new programmes we are announcing today. Our thanks again, also, to Barclays for their exceptional support of our work and mission.

"We are dedicated to doing the right thing for the industry as a whole and transforming our goals into everyone’s reality."

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