(Reuters) – Women in Football (WiF), a network of professionals in the football industry, has called for an increase in women’s representation to 30% at the top levels of football. Last month, FIFA president Gianni Infantino drew criticism for saying women can “convince us men what we have to do” to bring about progress in […]
Soccer-Women in Football calls for 30% women’s representation at top levels of sport
(Reuters) – Women in Football (WiF), a network of professionals in the football industry, has called for an increase in women’s representation to 30% at the top levels of football.
Last month, FIFA president Gianni Infantino drew criticism for saying women can “convince us men what we have to do” to bring about progress in women’s football.
The FIFA Council has 37 members including Infantino, of whom just eight (22%) are women. Earlier this year, FA Chair Debbie Hewitt was elected as a FIFA Vice-President.
“We welcome the progress made towards gender equality by many football bodies, but across the game as a whole it’s not enough, and it’s too slow,” WIF CEO Yvonne Harrison said in a statement.
“If football wants to end the cycle of inequality that results in abuse and institutionalised sexism, and if the doors are truly open, then inaction is not an option. Football has to change, starting at the top, and starting now,” she said.
FIFA said increasing the representation of women at all levels of football is a “major strategic priority”.
“In 2016, after the FIFA Reforms, the organisation appointed its first ever female General Secretary, Fatma Samoura, the first non-European, Muslim person to ever hold this post,” a spokesperson for world soccer’s governing body told Reuters.
“FIFA also established a Women’s Football Division, and required all confederations to appoint at least one female member to the FIFA Council… According to the recent Annual Report 2022, 40% of full-time employees at FIFA are female.”
WIF added that of the 140 members and delegates in the Spanish football federation (RFEF), only six are women.
The RFEF is embroiled in a row over suspended President Luis Rubiales’s allegedly unsolicited kiss on the lips of player Jenni Hermoso after last month’s Women’s World Cup final.
Among the six measures outlined in their statement on Friday, WIF also urged governing bodies to establish “clear policies against discrimination, abuse, inappropriate physical contact” and create pathways to report and deal with violations.
According to WIF report in July, 82% of women working in football have experienced discrimination at work.
(Reporting by Hritika Sharma, writing by Aadi Nair; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)