Bournemouth University: New report suggests steps to improve inequality in football

A Bournemouth University academic has supported Fair Game in producing its latest report which uncovers the under-representation of women in football and explores the financial benefits of football clubs supporting gender diversity.

The report, The Gender Divide That Fails Football’s Bottom Line: The Commercial Case for Gender Equality, highlights the commercial and financial benefits of investing in women’s football. It found a lack of investment in women’s football has led to a massive loss in potential revenue for football clubs and sporting associations.

Fair Game is a group of 34 value-driven clubs, backed by world-renowned experts and supported by politicians, looking to see football governed with inclusivity and transparency.

In recent years women’s football has seen a huge increase in revenue, broadcasting and fan growth, and with more people supporting the game, there are many commercial opportunities for clubs.

However, football is often battling financial challenges and research by scholars including BU’s Dr Keith Parry found that during an economic crisis, women’s football is the first to be cut. Women are also faced with sexism and misogyny.

The report offered three key recommendations which include:

– Clubs to make their stadium and match-day environments inclusive with child-friendly spaces

– A mechanism for women to report incidents of sexism and misogyny in football and be taken seriously

– Consequences for perpetrators

BU Deputy Head of Department of Sport and Event Management Keith Parry said, “This report is a key milestone in raising awareness of not just the social benefits of supporting women’s football, but also the financial benefits.

“Football clubs and sporting associations should be a champion of women in football to be at the forefront of tackling gender discrimination and increasing the amount of women playing and supporting the sport. Improving gender diversity will also bring them many commercial and financial benefits.

“Bournemouth University is committed to gender inclusivity and supports women, both staff and students, playing football and being involved in sports within the University and our wider community.”

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