How are sports supposed to tackle sexism?
There’s always mention of the culture and how it has to change. There’s been progress, but the culture of sexism remains in sports.
So how do we change the culture that belittles female athletes and rewards the men in power?
My suggestion: Do not let a sexist man be the coach of your women’s national team. That seems like a pretty good place to start.
The English soccer federation announced former Manchester United defender Phil Neville as the coach for the women’s national soccer team.
Hours later, a series of tweets from 2011 and 2012 emerged in which Neville had talked about battering his wife and how women only want equality, except when it comes to paying the bill.
Since then, Neville issued an apology and on Monday in an interview said “People who know me know it’s not a true reflection of my character.”
I don’t know Neville personally. That’s why his behavior on social media is important for me and any other women who follow soccer. And it’s important that the man who is chosen to lead the third ranked team in the world is a man who believes in equality and treating women fairly.
“But it's not right, the wording of the tweet was not right, and I'm disappointed I used that terminology,” Neville said.
Neville said on Monday he was sorry for the comments.
That’s something I struggle with because I believe that people should learn from their mistakes and be able to grow.
Learning and growing is a continuous process of unlearning behaviors that we have been socialized with and becoming better people.
I grew up watching men’s soccer in Colombia. There was no women’s soccer anywhere so naturally I grew up thinking men’s soccer was superior and men played it better.
As I got exposed to women’s soccer I unlearned that mentality and realized that, while women’s soccer was not men’s soccer for different reasons, the game was still the same, and women could be extremely talented and capable of giving us great quality soccer.
So when it comes to Neville, it’s challenging for me. I want to believe there’s an opportunity for growth and change.
However, Neville tweeted this on a public forum. It was not one tweet, but multiple tweets.
He knew how Twitter worked, he knew it was going to be seen by millions of people, many of whom would agree with his message because they don’t believe in equality.
When an organization chooses someone to represent their country at the highest level, especially when it comes to women, there should be a consensus that a man who is known for saying sexist and misogynistic things should not be the chosen one.
The England Women’s National Team deserves better; it has been on the rise in the last few years. It was third in the 2015 World Cup and has a great group of talented women willing to put in work.
Why not start changing the culture by giving them a coach that believes in them?
Daniela Marulanda is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.