Emma Hayes Challenges Misogyny in Football: Women Routinely Face Systemic Bias

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes has voiced her perspective on the prevalent issue of systemic misogyny and bullying faced by women in the football industry. Her comments come in response to former footballer Joey Barton’s criticism of women discussing men’s football with authority. Barton expressed such views on social media, claiming that women shouldn’t talk about men’s football with any authority.

Hayes, who is set to depart Chelsea at the end of the season to become the head coach of the U.S. women’s national team, emphasized the long-standing male privilege at the core of football in the country. She highlighted that women in various roles, including coaches, presenters, and players, routinely encounter systemic misogyny, bullying, and normalized behavior within the football community.

The seasoned manager, leading Chelsea to six WSL titles since 2012, underscored the challenge of understanding the detrimental impact of such conversations without experiencing systemic misogyny. She noted the tendency for social media discussions to enable mass criticism, emphasizing the need for greater awareness.

Hayes’s remarks shed light on the persisting bias against women in sports, exemplified by the 2019 gender discrimination lawsuit filed by 28 players of the United States women’s soccer team against the United States Soccer Federation. Additionally, she referenced the historical inequality in prize money at Wimbledon, which changed in 2007 following protests led by players like Serena Williams.

The football industry continues to grapple with biases, as seen in Spanish players’ strike in September for better conditions and pay. Hayes’s outspoken stance raises questions about addressing these biases within the sport.