Skip to content

Discrimination Against Women Working In English Football On Rise, Survey Says

The vast majority of women working in football in England have experienced discrimination, with the number continuing to increase, new data has shown.

A survey conducted by the group Women in Football found 82% of its members reporting some form of discrimination, defined as including sexism, sexual harassment and derogatory comments on ability based on gender, up from 66% in 2020. Of those who had such an experience, only 23% said they felt they could report it to their employer.

These stark numbers are echoed elsewhere in the research, which shows an increase in the number of members reporting sexual harassment and 93% of respondents saying they had experienced impediments in their career because of their gender.

“Like all other forms of discrimination, sexism can ruin careers and lives,” said Yvonne Harrison, the CEO of Women in Football. “Sadly, it’s becoming more widespread. Football needs to up its game and show zero tolerance to the perpetrators.

“While the figures show that more people are reporting discrimination, it’s still not enough. The fear factor of putting yourself forward is really, really significant still. I think the more that gender is talked about in workplace environments, the less tolerant women are to some of the things that they’re subjected to.

“On the flip side of that, we found some real positives in that 67% of women feel that the football industry is now an industry where they can excel and actually only 45% felt that back in 2020.”

Another more positive finding in the survey was the number of people who said they felt optimistic about women’s future prospects in the football industry, with 89% of respondents in agreement.

Key to making progress on delivering better careers for women, according to Women In Football, is greater transparency in employment data. This is a request also made by campaigners for racial equality within the game; the argument being that it is difficult to track progress when a lack of information on diversity means you are unsure of the starting point.

skip past newsletter promotionafter newsletter promotion

“We call upon the industry to be more transparent and joined-up with its data so collectively we have an accurate picture of the football workforce from which we can create change,” Harrison said.

Featured News