On Friday night Clipped football forum approached the issue of women in Football. Featuring three stories, attendees got a glimpse into how football, however accessible it may seem in our local realities, is withheld from millions around the world.
In Senegal, Afghanistan and Iran, we got a taste for how both female players and supporters are struggling to be accepted within their own football communities. Perhaps what was most striking is that by and large, average citizens seemed unified in their belief that the female side of the sport deserves a bigger voice.
In all three cases, government institutions were cited as being the root of the problem. This was made most evident in “Ladies Turn”, when both the local minister and the sports minister displayed just how backward the status quo amongst those in government, truly is.
In “Offside”, a feature/documentary (in that it is filmed during an actual World Cup qualifier) the director blurred the lines between fiction and reality. In the final seen, once Iran has won, qualifying for the Germany 2006, the protagonists of the film (6 female supporters who had snuck in dressed as men in order to watch the match live) were all greeted by Iranians celebrating this triumph. By filming this movie around real life events, the story (although fictional) portrays the reality versus the perceived reality of women in Iran.
In between films, Natasha Henry, Kelly Welles of the Football Ramble, and Milana Knežević of the Offside Rule Podcast gave us an insight into the plight of women in the world of Football journalism. It has long been known that women are not equally represented in sports journalism, but their anecdotes provided some perspectives on just how this inequality manifests itself. All three speakers noted that there is a stereotype of the female football journalist, and even where some progress has been made, it is still an injustice that they have to battle that prejudice every day.
In football, the culture surrounding the game is particularly slow, stunted by a relatively homogenous leadership, (mostly white wealthy males) and a media industry (the Daily Mail and the SUN) who seem more than happy to maintain this hierarchy. The culture of focusing on player wives and their shopping habits, or the disproportionate and often sexist demonization of women at top levels of the game, has created an environment where the female voice is not respected. As our magazine moves forward, we are interested in confronting these realities, and giving voice to everybody who is united by their