England Lionesses' UEFA Women's Euro win raises spotlight on gender equality
In a great moment for women’s sport, England women’s football team the Lionesses made 'herstory' as they were crowned the champions of the UEFA Women’s European Cup 2022.
Not only is it a pivotal time for women’s equality in sport, but the showcasing and elevation of female sporting talent broadcast and watched around the world provides an incredible platform for young girls to be inspired to live their dreams and witness women play at the same level as men.
Women making strides in male-dominated sports
The England women’s team, the mighty Lionesses, are role models for many women striving to succeed in historically male-dominated sports - and the wider arena.
Speaking to the Guardian, young fan Theo, 12, stated that the win would: “Encourage more English girls to play football. Give them a chance and give them experience with other players.”
Mia, 14, who plays for AFC Wimbledon said: “Women’s football has really grown now, it wasn’t like that before. When you play in school, the boys don’t really want to play with you to be fair, like they don’t really pass. They were quite cocky. But now, people actually realise women’s football is a thing and it’s good. And it’s a good quality, good level. I think this whole competition will help with equality.”
Raising awareness about the need for role models
And it’s not only young fan’s highlighting the historic win for gender equality. UEFA Women’s European Cup sponsor LinkedIn via their Follow In Her Footsteps campaign, shines a light on the need to support women in achieving their goals as they celebrate trailblazing women, both on and off the pitch. LinkedIn has been highlighting the importance of female role models on and off the pitch - to spark conversations that can help drive a more equitable world of work.
LinkedIn Country Manager for UK, & Global Vice President Strategic Clients, Janine Chamberlin explains: “As LinkedIn we decided to sponsor the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 to raise awareness of the need for role models, both on and off the pitch. And wow, what role models they are. I hope many girls look at this team and believe that they too can win big tournaments one day. Big thanks to role models Carol Thomas BEM, Anette Börjesson, Rachel Yankey for clearing the way, and Chloe Morgan, Iqra Ismail for inspiring future generations!”
Carol Thomas BEM supports LinkedIn's #InHerFootsteps campaign.
Women's backing in sport shouldn't be solely conditional on success
Interest in the Women’s Euros has grown significantly as the team continues to win games, and this undoubtedly is certainly a step in the right direction. However, it also sets alarm bells ringing that this groundswell of enthusiasm might be both precarious and conditional on a world-beating performance.
Support for women’s football needs to continue beyond a momentous win, reinforces British media source Metro. “The fact that new fans will start watching the Lionesses because they are doing so well is a crucial element in the growth of the women’s game. But it is vital that this support doesn’t drop off a cliff the moment the team loses a game, or has a bad run,” stated Metro. “To make this progress really stick, we have to allow women’s sides to be average, to fail – just like the men – without hemorrhaging fans, media coverage, and financial backing from sponsors.”
Forging ahead with gender equality
Meanwhile, Linkedin's Rachel highlights further opportunities to use the momentum of the historic win to strive for further gender equality in the workplace and beyond.
“I hope many companies offer what they would have offered last year when the men reached the final, which was a flexible start to Monday morning IF England won… Only very few companies are role models here and have mentioned the same for the Women’s win. While at LinkedIn we encourage flexible working any day, I’d love to see the same support for the Women’s game. It’s come a long way. It’s come home!”
What exciting times for women, and for women’s sport as it forges ahead in helping to break the bias and foster a gender equal world – GO LIONESESSES!