The Women are Revolting

Date: 23rd December 2022

(Photo: HomesofFootball)

The women are revolting

And rightly so…

It is 2022, and there has been a lot in the news over the past few years about local authorities having to hawk their family silver in order to pay out equal pay claims that stretch way back into their histories. We have also seen a lot of work being done to repair the damage done to others in the world due to our colonial past.

Doing the right thing has been at the core of a lot of what we have been trying as a society, within our communities to do.

Fitba should be no different.

It does not operate in a bubble, though people perpetually talk of self-policing and then you look at those in charge and realise you wouldn’t leave them to supervise a kid’s party never mind the largest participation sport in the country, but they have the blazers and they blaze their way through the game.

And, yes, we are in a place right now where society is riven with division and there are disputes and strikes all around us. It seems that the world cannot quite get on with itself.

But I have yet to hear the coherent argument that people who withdraw their labour do not have a right to do so and that they don’t have a point worth proving. But that may just be me.

And so why are the women’s national team taking the SFA to court? For parity.

Now some of the media will focus on pay. It is not just that which the women are arguing about. They have been in discussions about a new contract with the SFA for some time – years. They have been operating without contracts whilst increasing our appreciation of their game and more importantly building a healthy future – physically and mentally – for Scottish women.

They want the SFA to step up in welfare, equality and in practice. This isn’t about what the women’s game brings in and therefore what rewards they should get, this is about being able to compete at an elite level and, more importantly, act as a responsible body who are building a future for the game and looking after the people who have grown into being the ambassadors for the game.

So, why not?

In response to the legal action launched by the SWNT, which is an equal pay and treatment court challenge, the SFA have responded.

The SFA are clear that they believe in the “fundamental view that equality should be at the heart of the development of the game at all levels”. No players of either sex, therefore, receive payment for playing for Scotland because it is a privilege. And that is, as every fan would agree, as it should be.

And both sets of players get the same daily allowance. So far so good.

There are of course, as the SWNT point out, prize monies swilling about for appearance at international competitions. I wonder which of the two national teams have been, recently the most successful in that regard and what the parity of remuneration for getting to these tournaments will be like between the two teams; and what it says about that fundamental view that equality should be at its heart.

The SFA further claim that both sets are paid the same for media and/or promotional appearances. Again, so good, so far. The SFA statement however addresses only the issue of money.

But they are not just wanting parity in pay or remuneration or anything else financial. The SWNT are asking for the same level of training facilities, hotel provision, travel, nutritional needs and medical resources. Of course, the US women’s team’s $24 million equal pay claim pay-out is highlighted, and it is a fair point. Given the SFA response that appears to have spooked them.

But the people who are asking for parity are the ones who have played their part in our game nationally and internationally, and they are only looking for what the rest of society has acknowledged. It is, after all 2022. Rachel Corsie, who will lead the legal challenge has acknowledged the privilege of representing Scotland. What she and her teammates appear to be after is that same level of respect back. Oh, and to be out of the dark ages of imperialism and colonialism.

This could surely have been avoided…

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