Today’s announcement of winter sports funding for women’s sport is not good enough.
Although we welcome the financial support granted to the greatest women’s participation sports such as football and netball, the figures are significantly dwarfed by what men’s sports and leagues have received.
Rugby union has secured £150 million of mostly loans, with £59 million going to Premiership Clubs alone. The Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship have received just £3 million, far less than what is available to the National League.
We believe our Sports Minister, Nigel Huddleston, is genuinely behind women’s sport but the impact on society of this inequality is not widely understood.
As the country recovers after Covid if the Government is really going to make a difference it needs to step up. Women’s lives have been hit disproportionately hard by the pandemic and women’s sport is no different.
Stereotyping and stubborn inequalities kick in young and exist at all levels in the system from grassroots to elite. When elite female athletes are having to purchase their own equipment, such as goalkeeper gloves, in order to perform at the highest level, we must do more.
As we rebuild this country there needs to be zero tolerance of these inequalities and urgent action to support women’s mental and physical health.
The government should be looking at further investment in provision of public sports facilities critical to women like swimming pools and leisure centres, many of which are otherwise set to close as a result of not just of the pandemic, but well over a decade of brutal government cuts. It needs to challenge the gender pay gaps in professional sport and the shocking gender inequality of the media coverage of sport.