Why World Cup fever can make WOMEN look weak. Soccer is not just for boys!

Good, better, best, never let it rest until your good is better, and your better is the best!

OK, so soccer may not be your ‘thang’ and to be honest it is not really a game I like to spend my weekends watching, but when world cup fever hits the nation I cannot help but pay attention.

This world cup also got me thinking. Why is it whenever soccer is on TV, I suddenly feel all girly and…..well like I am the weaker sex?

Is it because I do not shout at the TV with beer in hand? Is it because I do not head to the local sports bar to sit and look at four or five TV’s all showing the same thing? OR is it simply that I do not know the offside rule? (who really knows anyway)!


LEVEL playing field?

Women started playing soccer in the UK in the 1800’s and reached a peak in 1963 with 53,000 people watching women play in Liverpool stadium. Worried by it’s growing success the UK soccer association placed a ban on women playing on the same pitches as men!

The ban was not actually lifted for another 10 years. In the 1970’s women soccer players were again allowed to play on the same pitches as men. Women’s soccer then started to grow all over the world. The United States passed a new law which saw investment in women’s soccer in colleges and high schools, from there it has continued to grow and thrive.

WHEN it comes to PAY!

This will not come as any surprise to you, BUT the gender pay gap in soccer is actually worse than it is in politics, business, and medicine.

For example; The top seven paid female soccer players combined salary is just about equal to the salary of one male soccer player. One French male player earning £32 million is equal to the pay of 1600 female soccer players!


Play HARD or be SENT off?

ALL of this kinda got me thinking back to how we as WOMEN are treated in our careers today.


The workplace can be like a soccer playing field. We have to be tactical, fight for EQUAL pay, live up to higher expectations and FIGHT to be treated fairly.

The gender pay gap in soccer is often explained away by those who argue that men’s sport is so much more commercially successful than women’s sport.

Is that still the case in the workplace? Are men deemed more commercially viable than women?

Well, I am here to say ABSOLUTELY NOT. Women in the workplace have a voice and here are my four skills to make yourself heard in the boardroom.

     1. The art of interruption.

I know, as kids we are told not to interrupt and to listen, but when it comes to the workplace and often in meetings, interrupting is a necessity to being heard. Starting with ‘Here is my opinion’ or ‘we need to increase the budget to….’ then follow straight to the point you are trying to make is professional and factual. Keep a steady voice shows you are in control and believe in what you are saying.

     2. The art of repetition.

So you have made your point, but no one seems to be listening. Really, what does a girl have to do around here? Do not be angry or defensive, sometimes the fact you were ignored is actually a good thing, you may have made a good point?! See if you can look at what you said from another angle and repeat it again.

     3. The art of problem-solving.

In most situations, including negotiations, you will always need to think on your feet and solve a potential challenge thrown your way. Would you want someone to come to you with a problem but no solution? Well, I am guessing your boss and colleagues don’t either. If you can be the one analyzing and problem-solving, you will be a step ahead of your peers.

     4. Assertiveness

Now there is a clear difference between being assertive and aggressive and, unfortunately, some people confuse them. Women have amazing intuition and empathy and when used with assertiveness, both can be played to your advantage.

If your intuition tells you it’s the right time to approach your boss, assertiveness could be used in how you word your sentence when approaching the subject of your salary.

Instead of saying ‘Could we please discuss my salary?’ change it round to “We need to discuss my salary”. You are being professional and to the point.

Are you willing to play OFFSIDE?


Whereas female soccer players may not have the same challenges as you, you are BOTH in the same position and playing the field of a male-dominated workplace.

If you would like to learn more about NEGOTIATION and how you can empower your voice in the workplace - Get in touch! I may even teach you the offside rule: [email protected]




Olivia Jaras