City proud to partner with Her Game Too
Posted: Wednesday, January 19th 2022
Thursday, January 20th 2022
Her Game Too partner with Bristol City to collaborate and make a positive change for women in the football industry.
The Her Game Too campaign started just eight months ago when a group of 12 female football supporters came together to make a stand against sexism in the football industry back in May 2021. Their aim – to make females feel comfortable in a sport which sometimes doesn’t allow women to have an opinion just because of the gender they are.
City is proud to partner Her Game Too and support a positive change for women in football.
The relationship will be launched at the men’s game against Cardiff on Saturday at Ashton Gate and the women’s match versus Charlton Women at the Robins High Performance Centre on Sunday.
Two of Her Game Too Co-founders and Bristol City fans Leah Case (pictured above left) and Eve Ralph spoke to bcfc.co.uk about HGT, their experiences in football and more…
What is Her Game Too and how did it come about?
Her Game Too came about in May 2021 when Caz May (founder) contacted us and 10 other female football fans from across the country as she noticed that there wasn’t anywhere or anyone who was taking a stand against sexist abuse in football.
The initial idea was to create a video holding up comments that we have all received as women and female football fans but when that went viral, we were all overwhelmed and thought we can take this and grow. We had loads of professional clubs contacting us asking to get involved and make a change, that’s when we wanted to have a platform where people could come and report their experiences. We also want to create opportunities so more girls can get into football whether that be playing, coaching or working.
We want this campaign to be for everybody and to not discriminate. It’s not an anti-men campaign it’s just pro women as we’re trying to get more girls into football.
What’s it like to collaborate with a club you support?
To collaborate with a club we both support in Bristol City is huge for us. We’re really excited as we have both been coming to Ashton Gate for more than 18 years and have a close connection with the club.
It’s a bit surreal, I don’t think it will feel real until I see it at Ashton Gate and the Robins High Performance Centre this weekend. I’ll definitely sit back then and realise we’ve done something big when I see the campaign being promoted and advertised at a club I have supported my whole life.
It feels like we’re making a difference. At Ashton Gate the other week there were two young girls in front of me with their dads and it’s great to see the next generation of fans coming through. We do what we do to make these young girls feel comfortable in this environment.”
Since the start of HGT what progress have you seen?
Since the campaign first went live, we have had loads of positive comments and messages saying how people are glad we are making a stand and trying to push to normalise females in football.
We now have clothing ranges out which is insane, and we hope that the money raised from this can help with grassroots football teams’ equipment and education.
When you see the grassroots teams wearing the badge on their kit that’s huge and hopefully that is a big step into normalising what we’re trying to achieve.
We love seeing all the pictures of females going to football with our merchandise on or tagging us - that shows us we’re doing something right.
What are your ambitions for HGT?
We would love to get all 92 football clubs to partner with us, that’ll be amazing, or even a whole league. Hopefully we can reach that within the next 12 months.
We also want to get into education programmes in the long-term future as we believe they can be very beneficial to what we’re trying to achieve.
The other day we had a Maltese team contact us, which is cool, as it shows how far we have reached. Why stop in England when we can spread the word further and make a real difference.
In an ideal world we want there to be a time where there is no sexism and at a point where the girl’s game is as big as the men’s.
We want to stamp out sexism in every aspect, whether it’s on transport or in pubs. We want to stand up for female fans as it’s a sport we should all be welcome in.
What have your experiences been as females in football?
Leah Case: I’d get derogatory comments just because people disagreed with my opinion, I’d also get comments about my appearance and whether my opinion was valid as I am a woman. The standard ‘get back to the kitchen’ is something that I get a lot.
Eve Ralph (pictured right): I was out with my friend once and this group of boys started shouting comments as they knew I was a football fan. Just because I was a female, they thought it was ok to say the things they were saying, they wouldn’t say the same to a male fan. I also got approached at a bar during the Euros in the summer, a man said, ‘If you are an England fan, name your starting 11’, it’s not what he asked, it’s the way he asked it. It would be different for a male - they wouldn’t get asked those questions in the way they are asked to females.
I go to a lot of away games to watch Bristol City and one time I got turned away at a pub that all the away fans were in after they questioned my knowledge of football and why I was there. Just moments after being told I couldn’t come into the venue by the door staff, they let a man just walk straight in. They only let me in after I said my brother was in there but that’s not right, it’s not fair.
How do you deal with sexist comments and behaviour?
Eve Ralph: Everyone is different with approaching this, personally what I do is hide the name of the person then screenshot the comment so I can raise awareness and show that it still goes on. I’m not all about the manhunt of the person who said the comment as I’d rather not create confrontation with that person.
Leah Case: I’m a very much block and delete person. I used to reply but then I found that, as I was replying, their replies were getting worse because they were getting angrier and more threatening due to me getting more defensive because they were being horrible to me. Now I have got to the point where I don’t let it get to me and that’s why I think ‘just block’ then it stops. This campaign has made me feel really empowered and realise it’s not my fault, it’s theirs. It used to really affect my mental health because I used to think it was just me.
What’s your advice for young girls getting into football?
Eve Ralph: There are definitely more opportunities now, so I’d say ‘take the opportunities that are there and grab them with both hands’. In a world that can be so negative try and shine a spotlight and look at the lovely things that come out of football like going to games with your friends and socialising. Try not to be put off by trolls if you get them, they’re the problem not you.
Leah Case: Don’t let anything hold you back, I think if you want something go for it, it shouldn’t matter that you’re a female. If going to football makes you happy then continue to do it, try not to be too influenced by people’s opinions as, like Eve said, they’re the ones with the problem.
How did you get into football?
Eve Ralph: My dad and brother were both huge City fans when I was younger and although we moved to Birmingham, my dad made sure that the one condition was that we travel back to Bristol so we could watch them play at Ashton Gate as much as possible. It was the norm to travel to Bristol every weekend to watch them and, from the first time I went when I was five or six, I loved it and haven’t looked back since.
When I was 12 years old my dad passed away and I have used football as my connection with him. When me and my brother go to watch Bristol City, we don’t talk about it but we both know that that’s our time together. It will always be incredibly special for me as it has shaped my life.
Leah Case: I think my dad brought me to my first Bristol City game when I was six or seven and, just like Eve, I never really looked back. Recently, my dad sent me a picture of me at the 1998 promotion celebrations at College Green. I was two years old with a City scarf round my neck so I must’ve loved it even at that young age.
Football and Bristol City has become a part of my life and weekend routine. When we couldn’t go during lockdown it felt really weird as I lost that bit of structure in my life. Now that it’s back it’s nice to have something to look forward to and do on the weekend again. It’s a family thing, I’ve been with my grandad, my dad, my brother and, still to this day, me and my dad are season ticket holders. No matter what the result is, just being at Ashton Gate feels right as it feels like home.
How can football be more inclusive?
We want to have a platform where it’s really easy to report something that isn’t right and to flag a sexist or racist comment made as the more awareness we raise and the more people call it out, that’s when people will start to realise that football is a game for everybody.
I think what is important as well is the balance of female to male staff in football and football clubs. I know Bristol City are quite good at that as they have a good mixture but going forward it’ll be great to get more female representation at all football clubs.”
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