Monday, December 20, 2004

Kicking like a girl

Good old FIFA are at it again - insisting that women shouldn't be allowed to play in men's football teams. Whatever next? No gay people in the straight olympics please! Seperate teams for for black people and white people? Oh please...!

Well I have written a nice email to Mr Blatter letting him know what I think of his rulings. He may remember me from the last time I wrote to tell him what I thought about his suggestion that the best way to raise the profile of women's football would be to insist on skimpier outfits for female players...

I do have some sympathy with those who fear that letting a few elite women in to the men's league would be harmful to the women's leagues. However I think the disadvantages there are more than outweighed by the thousands of women who would likely be inspired to take the sport up if they saw women competing in this way. And it would encourage girls to go down the park and join the local boy's team if that was the easiest way to learn to play.

Doing this at the highest level however sets a precedent for teams right the way through the league system to exclude women. Especially in rural areas this can mean the difference for women between having the chance to play and not having the chance to play.

Personally I used to play for a women's team until last season but there are far too few teams around central London and competition for places is desperately fought. I ended up registered with a team but very rarely getting a game. So now I play for a men's team, and its great fun. OK, so what I should have done is started my own women's team, but I don't have time anymore [I ran my own team for 3 years in Japan a few years back]. In the past I've played for a lot of different mens and womens teams and the variety of experience has unsurprisingly made me a better all-round player.

Anyway as its Christmas and since you're all so special I thought I'd risk the threat to my blogging anonymity (I've had a very different hair-do since then) and post up a picture of me lined up to play for the "Vagabonds" team. This was 2002 in a mini-world cup friendly tournament in Tokyo, despite being English I was playing for the USA (anything for a game!). Actually I was the only woman in the whole competition and ended up being interviewed on local TV.

Well that's the piccie there folks as promised. Have a good Christmas now!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Kindness of Strangers

I'm glad I'm not the only one seriously wound up by the new advert warning women of the dangers of unlicensed minicabs. Why are we asked to accept that there "just are" nasty people out there and therefore it's really our own fault if we - or our female friends - get violently raped on the way home?

At the age of fifteen I used to walk the mile to the bus-stop and sometimes, if I missed it, the 3-4 miles into my local town to my Saturday job. Since I could hardly have been headed anywhere but the town centre, barely a week went by when someone did not stop and offer me a lift. And I always accepted, never thought twice about it. In fact last time I was back in that part of the world I bumped in to one of the guys who used to give me a lift and we had a drink and a chat. Nowadays no doubt I would be personally responsible for encouraging paedophiles. Crime rates have not increased in the intervening period.

I'm also seeing adverts on TV telling me that I need to fit burglar alarms, double-lock my door when I go out and not use my mobile phone in public in case mysterious evil-doers see it and steal it. The government is, it would seem, topping up the efforts it has already made to cultivate a climate of fear and mistrust just in time for bringing in 1984-style identity cards.

Statistically, as a woman, you are much more likely to be raped by someone you know than by a stranger. I always think of that when some pushy guy I've met within the last few hours starts insisting on walking me to the bus stop.

Finally, ladies, let me remind you who you are most at risk of being physically hurt by: your own husband or boyfriend. Would your friends let you get into a car with him?

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Sexism? What sexism?

What hope do women have of a fair and equal society when the government, whose job it is to legislate for a fair and equal society, behaves like this?

Friday, December 03, 2004

If you think you're smart...

...try this Geography Olympics, I was horrified to discover how many I didn't know or could only place in a rough area. Actually I'd like to see Bush and Blair playing this against other world leaders. Meanwhile it is a bit of fun and passed the time here.

Fathers 4 Injustice?

The other night I watch Fiona Bruce's "Real Story" about Fathers 4 Justice. She's not one to shy away from challenging issues and I was particulary interested in two statistics:

1) 99.2% of court applications for access are granted. Is it possible that the remaining less-than-one-percent of fathers who apply are actually not fit to be left in charge of children? Remember that if the mother grants access anyway there will be no need for a court order, only those where the mother is unhappy go to court. If the access order isn't observed, the father should have a good case for applying for full-time custody. ...but the pyjama-wearing protestors don't seem to want to take on the hard work part of child-raising.

2) Compare that to 25% of women experience domestic violence in their lifetimes. Now of course it depends how many times we keep on letting these guys come out of prison (if we even send them there in the first place) and beat someone else up as to what percentage of men we have to assume are inclined to violence against women. Even a conservative estimate would suggest 2-3% however.

And F4J are claiming that Ms Bruce is biased because she knows someone who was a victim of domestic violence. ONE IN FOUR women are. Surely she would be more biased if she didn't know a victim of domestic violence, most people do. I do, I know several.

And, yeah, sure, so people can reform, and become fit fathers again. It's possible. But shouldn't the law assume that violent men aren't fit to be left alone with kids and then let them come to court to prove that they are? Rather than handing over the kids and seeing what happens in the meantime while their mothers are trying to build a case against them?

The guardian had this excellent article on the situation a month or so back.