Sport England’s latest campaign to get more girls playing sport has completely hit the mark. This Girl Can takes an honest, unapologetic approach aimed at empowering females to get involved in physical activity.
This is a letter by a woman (@bitchwhocodes) to her niece is filled with both frustration and hope. As I was reading it, I couldn’t help but replace the word ‘female developer’ to lots of other male dominated vocations: Footballer; Engineer; Pilot; Supreme Court Judge. And the message is still the same. Male or female, it shouldn’t matter so long as you’re capable of doing your job and you do it well.
I’ve been incredibly lucky to have sport in my life. I’ve also been lucky to have a really supportive mum (and aunt) who drove me to practises and games, made sure I had the right equipment, nutrition and encouragement. I’ve also always been given the opportunity to play. Where I grew up, there were more sports activities taking place than I had hours in a day. And I had equal opportunity to play. Yet, in so many other places, both in Canada and in the world, this is not the case.
On Saturday I was watching the Liverpool v. Wolverhampton match and to my delight I saw that there was a woman running the lines.
It is very uncommon and rarely happens that you’ll see a female official in a premier league match. In fact, Sian Massey is the second woman official in the premier league – ever! But of course, let the sexism ensue. During the match, Sky Sports commentators actually questioned her ability as a linesperson referring to her knowledge of the offside rule and then continued to question the presence of a woman as an assistant referee. The 25 year old lineswoman had been promoted to the premier league this season, this being her second appearance officiating a match, clearly based on ability, and needless to say she obviously knows the offside rule. You can see that she knows the offside rule when she deems this run made by Meireles on side. That call would have been a close call for anyone to make, male or female. But the bottom line is, she got it right.
If you’d like to see what the sky commentators Andy Gray and Richard Keys actually said, check it out as reported by the Guardian. Seriously not cool.
(This little rant is very much related to something I wrote about here on the State of Women’s Football)