Irish Women’s Football team standing up against the big boys

Updated: May 16, 2017
stephanie roche

Over recent weeks in the media the Irish Women’s National team voiced their grievances at the FAI. Their angst at the association’s failure to deal with their concerns regarding the lack of professionalism within the national team program.

The women’s game has enjoyed momentous growth over the past few years, and whether the players acknowledge it or not, they are at the forefront of that growth, shaping the image of the sport and asserting its presence in the public consciousness. Although these women gave this game a new face. They themselves needed a brave one while doing so.

When a woman steps into the ring, pitch or court representing her club or country, it is one of the most exciting yet challenging tasks she can face. Some of the most incredible success stories have come from brave and talented women, who not only faced competition from their opponents, but on a daily basis battle sexism, discrimination and the constant struggle to be treated equally. Their ability and talent disregarded. Their gender dealt them a blow.

This squad united and took a stand for not what they felt was right, but what in truth is right. What they’re fighting for is equality – a familiar story for many women’s national squads across the globe – playing sports they love, for people they love in demanding circumstances, while trying to hold down full-time jobs.

What this Irish Women’s National team should not have been forced to do is highlight these issues publicly. A situation highly humiliating for each and every person in that squad. Failed by their association, struggling to manage daily, changing in public toilets while their male counterparts are pampered in the nicest five star hotels.
Should they have been expected to take such desperate measures publically to be treated equally? The answer to that is no. They are the future of women’s football. Through this labour dispute they fought for the future of women’s football.

The FAI should hold these ladies in high regard as they’re playing at the pinnacle of their sport. They should be treated with fairness and respect, all of which will undoubtedly help encourage more young ladies into the women’s game.

Players like Puskas award nominee Stephanie Roche have shown what can be achieved by Irish players on the world stage and even the senior men’s team could follow her fantastic example of what is possible to achieve at the top of the game.

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