Back in December 2017, a fellow social media account called @soccrcoachprobs on Twitter, published a genius idea called #SexismInSoccer Bingo. The idea behind this was to encourage female coaches to RT or DM them if they have experienced any of the points mentioned on the image above.
The response, as you can imagine, was huge and @soccrcoachprobs was inundated with replies. As well as responses to the Bingo card, they also received DM’s and emails with stories from female coaches all over the World which explained the unique problems that women coaches in the sport have to deal with.
We at the FCN, got in touch with @soccrcoachprobs to congratulate the idea and share our gratitude of them raising awareness of such important issues…and we wanted to help them keep the momentum going in keeping these issues at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
2018 has been labelled by the media as the ‘Year of the Woman’, and according to US media outlet CNN:
“Women are protesting, marching, organizing and building power. From the millions who joined the Women’s March to the survivors who have bravely come forward with their stories of sexual harassment and assault, to the millions participating in the #MeToo movement, it’s become clear that women are not going to stay silent anymore. And these “silence breakers” — named as Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” — are not only speaking out, but are being heard.The “women’s movement” has been swept into the mainstream and become more diverse, and social media has become increasingly effective at mobilizing younger generations of women and girls.At the same time, men are becoming more vocal and aware of gender issues and finding ways to be active as allies. And, this week, the word “feminism” was named as Merriam-Webster’s word of the year: It was the year’s most-searched word on the dictionary’s website.”
So, being the ‘Year of The Woman’, we thought it was about time we stepped up our ‘protesting, marching, organising’ and help ‘build power’ for the thousands of female coaches out there who struggle day in day out to simply do their jobs. With this years USA Soccer Coaches Convention starting today (January 17th), we thought, what better time to launch our social media campaign and share the stories collated by @soccrcoachprobs for all to see.
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Why @soccrcoachprobs began the #SexismInSoccer Campaign…
“Several months ago, a guy reached out to me through DM on Twitter expressing interest in interviewing me on his podcast. When I asked what the topic would be, he lost me at “MLS Playoffs”. I’m convinced that he assumed I was a man. I responded and told him that if I could bring “friends” and talk about how much it sucks to be a female coach surrounded by misogynistic good ‘ol boys then I would be interested. Because of poor communication and miscommunication, that particular podcast didn’t work out, but it did light a spark in me to get this topic heard. I reached out to Paul Cammarata, who runs a podcast which I particularly enjoy called The Coaching Journey. He agreed to have me and my friends on his podcast to discuss the topic.
I’ve talked to many female coaches and I knew that I wasn’t alone in my frustration, but I never knew how common and widespread the issues were. With two weeks to prepare for the podcast, I reached out to 50 female coaches on Twitter asking them to list their top 3 struggles as a female coach. With the guarantee of anonymity, I heard back from 38 coaches by the morning that we taped the podcast and to date I have responses from 44 of the 50 coaches. It’s very interesting that five common themes kept reoccurring in the feedback that I received. These five issues became the talking points of our podcast, and they all shed light on a system of prejudice and discrimination. Below are a few snippets of what female coaches have shared….
- Balancing home and work life
- General disregard and lack of respect (from parents, male peers, players and officials)
- Derogatory Statements on ability based on gender
- Sexist Banter and jokes
- Being seen as a “bitch” for being assertive, competitive or hard on players
Reading all of these statements can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve never realized how rampant the problem was. The truth is sexism and gender bias isn’t confined to soccer coaching and I’ve had coaches from other sports reach out to echo many of these issues. I hope that you’ll give our podcast a listen. It was never my intention to have a “bitch-fest” and sit around and talk about our problems. However, being able to vent and bring light to some of very real problems we have was empowering. And it is my hope that the spark that was lit in me will continue to spread and become a flame that lights a fire, a fire towards change.”