The Lionesses: ‘In the male-dominated football industry, we’ve discovered it’s far more than just a game; it’s a platform for change’

The Lionesses: ‘In the male-dominated football industry, we’ve discovered it’s far more than just a game; it’s a platform for change’

This is the Lionesses’ era. After their historic win at the European Championships last year, the team had the whole nation on the edge of their seats when they secured their place in the Women’s World Cup Final this summer, the first time the England men’s or women’s team have done so since 1966. They may not have brought it home (after being defeated by Spain 1-0), but the Lionesses have proved that it’s more than just a game; their success has had enormous cultural and societal impact, proving that women’s sport deserves to be taken seriously.

Which is why we’re honouring them at the GLAMOUR Women Of The Year Awards, in partnership with Samsung, with our Sports Icons Award. Taking to the stage, presenter Geri Halliwell Horner said: “The final award tonight goes to an extraordinary and historic team who have come far closer to bringing football home than their male counterparts. When they won the Women’s Euro Championships last year, it was the first time a major soccer cup has been brought back to England in nearly six decades. And, this year, they had us on tenterhooks as we watched them kill it, time and time again, in the World Cup – right through to that nail-biting final with Spain. A final that, I hasten to add, neither our prime minister Rishi Sunak nor the president of the Football Association himself, Prince William attended in Sydney. Noted.

“All of this success despite being on a fraction of the pay that men in football receive. Something they continue to be open and vocal about. While the average wage for a male Premier League player is around £60,000 per week, the average ANNUAL wage for a female footballer in England’s Women’s Super League is just £47,000. And the prize pot for women’s world cups? It’s a quarter of what the men receive. But that has not deterred them – instead, it’s fuelled an absolutely awe-inspiring performance on the pitch. And forced our government to commit to providing girls with equal access to sports in schools.

“Thanks to their undeniable talent and tenacity, not only are they doing the nation proud, they’re changing the face of an entire sport. As well as drawing record-breaking crowds in stadiums and on our screens across the world.”

Players Jess Carter, Bethany England, Alessia Russo and former GLAMOUR coverstar Chloe Kelly then took to the stage to accept the gong on behalf of their team.

“Us girls probably don’t realise the impact we have on many young girls’ lives, but this award is not just for women’s football, it’s for every woman involved in sport; those who have paved the way that came before us, and left the shirt in a better place for us, and allowed us the platform to achieve great things – this award is for them,” said Chloe Kelly.

Jess Carter added: “In the male-dominated football industry – and sport as a whole – we’ve discovered it’s far more than just a game; it’s a platform for change. Our journey has been filled with obstacles, from not everyone having equal opportunity to take part in P.E at schools to wearing white shorts during our menstrual cycles which have both been changed earlier this year.”

Following Jess’s sentiment, Bethany England continued: “But every setback only fuelled our determination as a team. We want to continue to build the women’s game, continue to raise standards and have a positive effect on how it is viewed both domestically and globally.”

Closing the acceptance speech, Alessia Russo said: “To do that we need to keep raising performance levels and gain the recognition we deserve. We have to dig deep and stick together as a team, like many realms of life. So let’s keep working hard and keep celebrating women.”

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