31 December 2020

5 examples from 2020 of how women’s sport is still struggling for equality

2020 has seen many positive steps in the world of women’s sport but a few incidents have shown there is still a way to go until we reach that illusive level playing field with the men.

From the Lionesses’ first black captain Mary Phillip revealing how she was assumed to be a player’s girlfriend at a Peckham Town game when she was in fact the club’s manager, to the uproar on social media after jockey Hollie Doyle was the only female nominated for the Sports Personality of the Year, there have been several sporting ‘equality’ own goals.

Here’s NewsChain’s top five.

Ireland rugby shirt fiasco

Ireland used models instead of women’s players to announce their new kit

(Twitter: Florence Williams)

Ireland Rugby and Canterbury landed themselves in hot water back in August after they used models instead of players for the new kit launch, while the men’s kit was modelled by players.

In reaction Canterbury said they would use female athletes for all their photoshoots in future and the social media campaign #IAmEnough was started.

USWNT equal pay

USWNT had their equal pay suit thrown out of court

(Zuma Press/PA Images)

In May a US district court judge rejected the USWNT’s allegations of gender discrimination because they were paid less than the men’s team.

He ruled in favour of their governing body, the US Soccer Federation, declaring that the women’s team had not been underpaid.

Only the team’s complaints that they were subject to inferior travel and accommodation compared to their male counterparts were given leave to proceed.

The USWNT have now successfully won equal working conditions and are continuing their fight for equal pay.

Sexist comments on commentary

Carney has been hit with sexism when commentating


It seems every time former England players Karen Carney and Alex Scott have commentated on men’s matches this year they have trended on Twitter for all the wrong reasons.

The sexist comments range from alleging a lack of knowledge of the game to the sound of their voices.

Carney was on the commentary team for Arsenal’s Europa league match against Dundalk in October, when one observer commented: "Karen Carney! Shut up! Talking absolute tosh. It’s just unnecessary. SMH!”

Carney earned 144 caps for England and played for Chelsea and Birmingham City, among other clubs.

FA Cup prize money

Manchester City won the FA Cup back in November 


The disparity in prize money between the men’s and women’s FA Cup competitions was highlighted in a campaign by Championship club Lewes FC.

The winner of the men’s tournament receives £1.8 million while the women’s winners get just £25,000.

Covid cancellations

Chelsea won the 2019/20 season of the WSL


It wouldn’t be a piece about 2020 without a reference to Covid-19 as the pandemic has completely disrupted the sporting calendar, as well as everything else.

However, while men’s and women’s sport were faced with the same problem they were offered different solutions.

While the Premier League finished the 2019/20 season when the government allowed elite sport to return in September, the Women’s Super League’s season was cancelled.

Chelsea claimed the title but the results were calculated on a points per game system.

Likewise with the rugby. The men’s Gallagher Premiership season was finished in full but the Premier 15s was ruled null and void and so no winner was crowned in the women’s competition.

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