Female footballers have been fighting against discrimination and inequality for over one hundred years. Is this fight finally over, or on the other hand, has it just started?
It is ironic to think that before and during World War 1, women’s football flourished in England. Their matches raised funds for the injured soldiers and their families. Yet, nowadays female footballers themselves cannot survive. As women have been historically excluded from football, this hampered and hindered their skills and resources. But this does not mean that they do not deserve to receive a decent salary. Women’s football has long entered a new era of professionalism. And there is no turning the clock back!
Up until recently, the national teams have been the ones to take a stand in their fight for equality. Now, we see it is the individual clubs that are taking a stand and joining the fight.
2019 has brought important changes, with a threat from the Spanish female footballers to go on strike on the 16th – 17th November. Once again, Spain is leading the way in the football world. But, on the other hand, Spain is a country with one of the highest paid players in the world and some of the wealthiest clubs to boot . Why should women not be permitted to enjoy decent salaries and conditions like their male counterparts? Why, when annually the clubs receive €350,000 from the Spanish Football Federation and €500,000 for TV rights, can the players not enjoy a decent minimum salary? It is unacceptable in this day and age, when women are fianlly getting recognition for their work, the football world, one of the most lucrative businesses in the world, has chosen to treat women as very much second class citizens.
FIFA defines a professional footballer as one with a written contract, and is paid more for the footballing activity than the expenses incurred. All others, which is the situation of female footballers, are considered to be amateurs, therefore entitled to little or in many cases, nothing.
A study by Sporting Intelligence in 2017, very clearly sums up the discrimination which is blatant in the male-dominated football world. It has found that the top seven women’s leagues which has eighty-one teams, and 1,693 players, only earn a miserly 32.8 million euros a year combined. Believe it or not, this is the equivalent amount of money that Neymar earned that same year.
Shame on that male-dominated football world!