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FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023

22 August 2023

3 mins

Pro Vice-Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Professor Charlotte Croffie, reflects on the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.

Huge congratulations to the Spanish and English women’s football teams for an energetic and exhilarating rollercoaster of a game on Sunday 20 August 2023.

To Spain, the World Champions, and to the Lionesses for being the first senior England team to reach the FIFA World Cup Final since 1966 – 57 years ago. 

Thank you.

Thank you for showing that women’s sport is every bit as good as men’s sport.  The importance of this achievement should not be underestimated or overlooked.

To my mind, the whole tournament has been an exhibition of skill and strategy with no shortage of highs and lows on a par with the men and arguably in many cases a cut above the men’s game.

Sarina Wiegman, quiet, understated, and graceful brought the team to another milestone. Her list of achievements far outshines others in the game and yet she does not brag about it. Instead, she builds teams to follow the rules and steer away from some of the shenanigans that we have witnessed some other teams engaging in. Sarina is in a league of her own!

These elite players, coaches, and managers from all nations across the world have worked hard and won the admiration of new and existing fans whilst inspiring more girls and women to get involved in the game. This is equally true of other women’s games such as rugby, cricket, basketball, etc. This is reflected in ‘Game On: The Unstoppable Rise of Women’s Sport’, directed and produced by alumni SueAnstiss MBE and Jack Tompkins. You can find the programme on Netflix.

So in 2023, with such accolades and sold-out stadiums, why are we still hearing mutterings about equal pay.  Is this even a topic for discussion? It shouldn’t be. Pay the Lionesses and other women in sport what they are due.

For clarification, asking the question is not polarising this debate.  I believe we should be able to share views that may be deemed as challenging and uncomfortable with dignity and respect. Particularly where doing so gives credit where credit is due and lends a voice to where it can be amplified to help create positive change.

That fact we are still having these conversations means that being a woman at the top of your game, outperforming some of your male colleagues is still not enough to warrant fair and equal pay or treatment. This is despite the Equal Pay Act which came into force in 1970, 53 years ago. This is not acceptable and only serves to highlight and perpetuate the discrimination women continue to face.

Is it now time for women, society and allies to join together to demand equal pay and make pay inequity a thing of the past? After all, have the Lionesses and other women who do such a great job in multiple walks of life, not earned this right!

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Reflections, comments, discussion and opinion on EDI topics from Loughborough University staff and students

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