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“Women’s football retains a nobility that men have lost”

BarcelonaWomen’s sport is making steady progress towards equality. There is still a long way to go, but thanks to all the organizations and institutions that are leading it right now, change is getting further than ever. Many milestones fill those who, like Isabel Pérez, general secretary of the Union of Sports Federations of Catalonia (UFEC), have been fighting for years to make this possible.

Of the sold outs at the Camp Nou. Women’s sport is breaking down barriers and occupying places where it had no access.

– He gives us the reason. There is interest in women’s sports when an organization accompanies and bets on them. Barça have not been defending women’s football for two days, it has been a job for many years and now it has reached its climax and we hope that it will continue to grow. Two sold outsthe record of the other day, helps us all to explain the work that is done, we are proud because it is positioning the world of sports as a leading field in terms of feminism and shows us that we were right, that the Female leadership has come to stay.

Did people think we were wrong?

– They had many excuses. Like now that it didn’t matter, that it didn’t sell and that it wouldn’t generate. And certain comparisons were made. Now these excuses are over. We have records and joys that men’s teams are not giving us.

That women should have a place in sports seems like common sense, but there are still people who are reluctant to accept it.

– Fortunately, there are people who have taken it for granted. It has been many years of patriarchy and sport has always been a benchmark. Sport stereotypes have been used to classify us as men or women, as if we were different. It’s great to be able to ask for this perception thanks to the work that Barça is doing. We are in a hurry and it would have taken more years without Barça. This push has come to us in all the work we have been doing for a long time.

Sports organizations have been fighting for all that is now being achieved for many years. How are you feeling?

– We are very proud. We feel like the spearhead of society. We are at the forefront of a social transformation with sport as a reference. We are reaching an unusual point of equality so far.

But the road is not over yet. Days like the Camp Nou are needed as a speaker, but the reality of women’s sports is still a long way from having days like these every weekend.

– We need a lot of pedagogy and the Barça players help us a lot in this. It is true that we are adding an added responsibility to them, but I think they gladly accept it and make it their flag. All these years of work have given us the advantage of being able to know what we want to happen to women’s sports beyond what has happened to men’s sports. We don’t want to make the same mistakes that have occurred in the professionalization of the masculine. The first candidate to run for the new women’s league is bicephalous. In the male, does anyone know who is behind Thebes? This different speed is allowing us to do things differently. We’ve come to break glass ceilings and I think that’s what we do.

What do you think are the main differences between the feminine and the masculine?

– Professional men’s football has a long history, and it is true that the media has not helped us either. The referees argue that it is a pleasure to referee women’s matches because of the nobility that is still in the game. It is something that, from a certain level in the masculine, has been lost. Certain values ​​and nobility are preserved and we must ensure that this lasts. It is one of the great added values.

Is the creation of such references a guarantee of good transmission of values?

– From the spectacularization of these men’s football events, things end up coming out of the field of play and, in return, dirty references. They, on the other hand, are still in an early stage of effort, a quality that we want to see and that we want to represent a sporting reference. We must fight to preserve it. The help that these references give us to continue attracting girls to the rest of the sector is unquantifiable.

They are not only a reference for girls who want to play football, but also for anyone who wants to get started in a sport.

– With football there is a plus, because it is a very masculinized sport. The Catalan Federation has already started this fight in 2017 with the Proud campaign, to claim that playing football was also for girls and they had to be very proud to play it. In other sports, which may not have as much stigma as this masculinization, it helps to normalize it and get them involved.

The fight is not only on the grass, but also in the market. How is it done to empower them to hold decision-making positions?

– It is a step that is difficult to take, but having these benchmarks helps to make the directives more egalitarian. We are well aware of the sweet times we live in and the work that goes into advancing on the turf is crucial to achieving equality, but we cannot forget the work that needs to be done to make the directives more permeable to change. The postgraduate course in female leadership we do at UFEC is very important, and visibility helps them to become benchmarks for future directives.

Why is female leadership essential?

– Because it puts you at the table where decisions are made. Patriarchy is a system that has structures that do not benefit us and we are often unaware of. Introducing women and a gender perspective into the decision-making spaces of sport will end up reconverting the sector so that it has no barriers to access. Not even the ones we are not able to see now. We all have some myopia about the structure of patriarchy. Women question how we should lead, what we should and should not do, and this in traditional male leadership is not even considered.

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