Name: Bravehearts Ladies
Something about yourself: Bravehearts ladies, founded in 2017 is a grassroots team based in Edo State, Nigeria. They encourage young girls to play the game without fear and constantly advocate for equality globally.
Women in Sports
What is the biggest barrier in driving visibility of women’s sport?
The biggest barrier is the mentality that somehow women’s football is ‘less attractive’. This leads to a lopsided effort in support, investments and sponsorships and a general feeling that the women’s game cannot generate equal revenue. This must change!
Why do you think it is taking so long for things to change?
Simple, the refusal to accept the women’s game. A lot of people feel threatened, there is a fear that women’s football will one day become equal to the men’s. Unfortunately most of these people who believe this are in positions of authority, in the football and government sectors. Put the right people in the right positions and the women’s game will accelerate tremendously.
Do you think male athletes can do anything to help drive visibility of female sports?
Yes a lot. Lots of celebrity athletes shy away from women’s football discussions. Probably in order to avoid offending their fan base. They have a powerful voice, they can use it. Imagine a Lionel Messi or a Cristiano Ronaldo at a women’s game, imagine how much publicity that would create. Male athletes can be a powerful help.
What role do you think sponsorship brands should play in creating awareness about women in sports?
Shamefully in Africa, Most big brands avoid the women’s teams and tilt towards the men’s. The current Nigerian football situation is a clear example. All the sponsors kept silent during the Women’s world cup in France and suddenly ‘appeared’ days later during the Men’s Afcon, showering the men’s team with gifts, goal bonuses and win bonuses. This is a shameful act and sends a wrong message to the women’s teams that they are inferior. Big brands have failed in this aspect.
What needs to change in order for women’s sports to be taken as seriously as men’s?
It all stems from the top. Governments need to change their attitude, the FAs need to do the same. When those in football authorities show no bias towards the women’s game, there will be a ‘trickle down’ effect, and the power of women’s football will increase globally.
Women all over the world should not be discouraged as the women’s game is expanding at an amazing rate. People are beginning to respect female football. Our time is now, the battle for equality is almost won and there are now greater opportunities in women’s football than ever before.