They say that men and women have equal rights to everything in most parts of the world, yet in sport, and particularly football, it doesn't appear that way at all. The opportunities and levels at which men and women play football is completely different.
A fact that needs to change:
Male Premier League footballers earn triple what female Premier League players do.
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Yes, the likes of Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott and Raheem Sterling all earn mega money, from their club wages, international duties and sponsorship deals. They live like Hollywood movie stars, can afford the best things in life and live in a bubble from the rest of us.
However, female stars such as England captain, Steph Houghton and Eniola Aluko who plays for England and Chelsea earn considerably less according to BBC Sport, some other less known players getting as little as £50-per-week.
They may be televising more women’s matches now but still there is so much more that needs to be done to bring the exposure level up to the men’s standard. Sponsorship deals will soon follow after that and this will promote to young female athletes that training hard to become a professional footballer brings the same benefits to women as it does men.
Sky Sports says it will offer 116 live games of Premier League football, 127 from the Sky Bet Football League, every round of the Capital One Cup and UEFA Euro 2016 and World Cup Qualifiers in 2018 for mens’ football this season.
Women’s football will not even see half of that air time as the BBC shows here, hence the women's clubs will continue to suffer in revenue where the men’s teams will thrive.
A possible solution to this gulf might be to launch a joint campaign of awareness, where both male and female footballers come together to promote equal rights in football as has been previously done with racism campaigns across different sports.
With this affiliation in place, it will show young and future stars from both sexes that regardless of your gender, you can play sport at the highest level, with the same amount of opportunities afforded to you than that of the opposite sex.
Greater awareness of the female game is required. Following the BBC coverage of the Women’s World Cup in Canada, people know it exists but few support local women's teams in the way they do mens. This is more down to awareness than it is to do with reluctance to embrace the women’s game.
As mentioned earlier, big sports organisations, like Sky Sports should be doing more to promote women’s football so that it can be enjoyed by a larger and wider audience.
Equality runs deeper than just gender. In football alone, you can see how mixed race and black player feel victimised in the game. But the principle is the same – fair rights should be shared across everybody to create one community that enjoys the nation’s number one favourite sport collectively on a level playing field for both genders.
TIME FOR A CHANGE
Changes are happening in the women’s game but it’s all very messy and difficult. There needs to be clearer thinking, fairer rights and more equal opportunities if it's ever going to work.