This summer’s World Cup has made us more aware of the huge inequalities in football. Now, players and experts are being given a stage to fight for inclusion.
It’s officially the summer of women’s sports. We’ve seen the nation get behind our football team, 15-year-old Coco Gauff displaying possibly the most incredible performance of modern tennis and, with the start of the Netball World Cup, we’re buzzing for what’s to come.
Admittedly, all of this excitement comes a little late. The fact of the matter is this: it’s taken until 2019 for women’s sports to only just being taken seriously, and we can’t ignore the fact that there’s still huge inequalities with treatment, wages and respect in the sports industry for its amazing female athletes.
So when we heard that Jumpers for Goalposts, a new football festival, is providing a new platform to put that conversation front and centre, we were intrigued.
Think about a gathering of football fans and you don’t imagine a diverse group of people discussing social and gender issues. Perhaps that’s the fault of negative reporting, but it’s also because women have often been left out of the sport both in terms of playing, organising and even supporting.
So when Jumpers for Goalposts told us that they were going to be giving panels and events directly to women in the industry, we were excited. Panels include Making Herstory, which will dive into the “joy, action and controversy” of the Women’s World Cup with expert panelists including Debra Nelson from the Football Beyond Borders Girls programme and Lewes FC midfielder Shannon Moloney.
Fadumo Olow, from the podcast I Think She’s Offside, will be discussing media representation of football and fans in the media on the Beating The Press panel, and the Alternative Careers For Women in Football workshop will highlight how those of us who aren’t players can be involved to inspire a new generation of female footballers. The whole weekend looks set to play host to some of the most important conversations in the world of women’s sporting.
But it’s not just all learning: the event is designed to be a celebration of the sport – and they know just how to do that. A screening of our childhood favourite Bend It Like Beckham will take place on Friday night, DIY zine workshops will be held over the weekend and, in true festival tradition, there will be street food, games and stalls.
Rahul Keerthi, Jumpers for Goalposts’ founder and producer says: “The name of the festival should evoke the joy, imagination and unlimited possibility that football makes many of us feel as kids. At the same time we recognise that this has not been the case for everyone and we want to show that we have moved forward. Football culture can be a force for positive change, creating environments around football that encourage people to enjoy who they are and what they can do - both as individuals and as a team or community. Football is for all.”
Tickets are available here.