Inequality in women's football: "We do not ask to charge the same, but we are given the same opportunities"

If there is a field in which there are still big differences and discrimination between men and women, that is the world of sport. Not only because of the wage difference, which can be evident and reasonable for the income generated by each one, but at the level of basic rights. We speak with Mª José López González, an expert lawyer in women's sports, and with Amanda Sampedro, captain of the Spanish national team's national team, about difficulties women athletes face.

In search of a collective agreement

At the moment the first division players are negotiating something as basic as a collective agreement, although an agreement has not yet been reached. It is expected that this will be the first agreement for footballers that regulate such essential aspects as the right to collective bargaining, working hours, schedules, rest and vacations, prevention of occupational hazards, medical examinations, etc.

There are not many precedents in the signing of an agreement that regulates the situation of elite athletes: Professional basketball players in the Women's League, on the other hand, signed their own collective agreement in 2008, but it is no longer in force. For its part, footballers continue to suffer a great precariousness in their labor rights, and a lack of response to labor regulations in the world of totally discriminatory sports.

The main demands of athletes

Mª José López González tells us some of the main claims for the negotiation of the agreement, specific issues of women who are not yet regulated by labor regulations.

  • Work disabilities (currently, in case of injury, each club acts differently)
  • Motherhood and breastfeeding are not regulated.
  • A protocol against harassment.
  • The holidays.
  • The AIDS.
  • The disciplinary regime

"It is about unifying and safeguarding the rights of all professionals, in the collective agreement the labor conditions, economic issues, labor rights would be regulated. It is not about the future, nor about the present, they are issues that should have been done much earlier. We are already late", explains Mª José.

Amanda Sampedro, who with 25 years has already reaped countless triumphs, tells us about the main difficulties faced by women's teams: "The truth is that we have had fewer opportunities than the men's teams but, sincerely, I hope that the time comes when this is equated and that, from here, we can compete on par. We are on this path, we must seize the moment".

Also sees great differences between male and female teams of the same sport: "Regarding the economic issue, the difference is abysmal, but not only with regard to women, but to other sports or other professions. In terms of facilities, conditions must also be improved. But we are moving forward, there is a much clearer social sensitivity and from different fields and institutions, it is supporting and it shows.".

Regarding main demands of women's teams, Amanda states: "We just want equal opportunities. We do not ask to charge the same as the players, but we are given the same opportunities. Hopefully with our work, we can enjoy the same advantages".

Maternity and sport are incompatible?

Motherhood in sports is a delicate and complicated issue, and there are still many athletes waiting to finish their sports career to become mothers. Although anti-pregnancy clauses are prohibitedBeing a mother is still a big problem for the athlete.

Amanda Sampedro tells us how the soccer players see it: "Measures are being taken in this regard. In fact, recently the Football Federation has announced aid for pregnant and nursery athletes. It is a good path, although much remains to be done."

The role of the media

About how we treat the media female sport, the lawyer Mª José López believes that there is still a certain paternalism and that there is an approach to women's sport with contemporization and affirms that it would be much more positive "an equal look".

Amanda explains her relationship with the media: "The media are very important socially. If you like people, you will surely have more visibility. Everything is a chain: Triumphs bring people closer and attract the media".

The future of equality in women's and men's sports

Women's sport in Spain does not stop reaping successes, which is increasing the interest of the press and the public for women's sport. A notoriety that can help in the path of equality.

This is how Amanda sees it: "Success attracts the media and brings fans closer. Sport are results. If you don't win, nobody will remember you. What counts in sport are the recognition and winning. There is no secret. If you perform at a good level, everyone will be with you, if you get injured, nobody remembers you".

Mª José also believes that The successes of women's sports and the relationship with brands can grow in positive: "Women's sport sells, we are seeing it".