The surging interest in Euro 2022, the Women’s European Championships taking place in England this summer, provides more evidence that we are in a ‘new age’ when it comes to coverage of women’s football. It highlights that much has been achieved in building gender equality in soccer in the UK and beyond. However, numerous recent issues, from questionable stadium choices to high-profile cases of sexual and domestic violence by male players, demonstrate there is still a long way to go, particularly in getting more men to become allies to women and speak out against sexism and misogyny at all levels in the game. In this episode of Now and Men, we talk to Dr Stacey Pope about her extensive research in this area – on issues from attitudes among male fans, to experiences of women in football – which gives vital insights into what the problems are and how things can be changed.
Stacey is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Durham University. She studies issues of gender, sport and inequality and is a leading figure in research into women sports fans. She has written a book, ‘The Feminization of Sports Fandom: A Sociological Study’, published by Routledge in 2017: https://www.routledge.com/The-Feminization-of-Sports-Fandom-A-Sociological-Study/Pope/p/book/9780367233006 (https://www.routledge.com/The-Feminization-of-Sports-Fandom-A-Sociological-Study/Pope/p/book/9780367233006)
Follow Stacey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/StaceyPope20 (https://twitter.com/StaceyPope20) or LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stacey-pope-104a2a57/ (https://www.linkedin.com/in/stacey-pope-104a2a57/). Read more about her work: https://www.durham.ac.uk/staff/stacey-pope/ (https://www.durham.ac.uk/staff/stacey-pope/).
We discuss the following topics in the episode:
Where Euro 2022 fits in the history of women’s football in England
What the Women’s Euros tell us about gender equality in the game today
Tackling violence against women in football
Stacey’s research on attitudes among male fans towards women’s football
Progressive shifts in masculinities in football
Challenging stereotypes about football fans and working-class masculinities
Stacey’s research on the history of female football fandom
Experiences of women football fans today
Where Stacey’s own interests in football come from
How to build gender equality in the game, including examples from other countries
How men in football can be allies to women
Who will win the Euros!
Just after we recorded the episode, an exciting new campaign was launched by the phone company EE called #HopeUnited #NotHerProblem, featuring several high-profile men and women players challenging sexist and misogynistic abuse online – https://www.eehopeunited.co.uk/ (https://www.eehopeunited.co.uk)
A recent piece by Stacey in The Conversation – ‘Why football needs a gender revolution’ – https://theconversation.com/why-football-needs-a-gender-revolution-182394 (https://theconversation.com/why-football-needs-a-gender-revolution-182394)
Stacey’s research on ‘a new age’ of media coverage of women’s sport – https://doi.org/10.1177/0038038518797505 (https://doi.org/10.1177/0038038518797505)
Stacey’s research on men’s attitudes towards women’s football: https://doi.org/10.1177/00380385211063359 (https://doi.org/10.1177/00380385211063359), and a summary of the findings: https://theconversation.com/women-in-sport-misogyny-among-male-fans-is-rife-but-progressive-masculinities-are-on-the-rise-175091 (https://theconversation.com/women-in-sport-misogyny-among-male-fans-is-rife-but-progressive-masculinities-are-on-the-rise-175091)
The website for Stacey’s latest research on Women Football Fans – https://womenfootballfans.org/ (https://womenfootballfans.org)
Suzanne Wrack’s book, ‘A Woman's Game: The Rise, Fall, and Rise Again of Women's Football’ (Guardian Faber, 2022)...