Taking a stand for women’s football – Stories from Sweden

To represent Sweden,
it’s the most amazing thing. The feeling you have on the field
when you get to play… …to just give 110 per cent. When you get in that flow
you feel unstoppable- -together with your teammates.
It’s such a cool feeling. I think that’s why I’ve been playing
for 30 years now. When I was a kid
and played with the boys- -we played against another team
of only boys. They would say:
’Hey, look! They have a girl.’ ’They’re so bad.’
I was one of the best- -so they shut up quite fast. That was the only time
when I thought: ’I’m different.
I’m not exactly like the boys.’ I changed my perspective when
I met my wife, her sisters- -and her closest friends. They’re very
strong-minded women and feminists. They got me to understand what we
go through in our soccer careers- -and also in our
normal lives outside. The world of men’s soccer
is just unreal. The amount of money they make
is just crazy. But also if you look at how many
fields you have to practice on- -or which time you practice,
or commercials made for the games. It’s been an issue for years that
you couldn’t even buy our shirts. We do play the same sport. Why don’t
we have the same opportunities? Last year I won the… It’s called ’Diamantbollen’ in Swedish.
(The Diamond Ball) It’s the biggest award you can get
at the annual Swedish Sports Football Gala. When I won the award
I wanted to take the chance- -to use my platform to take a stand. I think we need to take action, take
a stand, that we show the rest of the world- -that we don’t differentiate between
girls and boys who want to play soccer. I know a lot of men
took it very personally. A thing that I can’t understand is
when men say that it’s unfair- -that they have to answer
these questions at all. Don’t think about yourself.
Look at the big picture. Look at how it really is
in society today. A lot of people say that politics
and sports shouldn’t be mixed. But for me,
sports should be including. That’s why I also think
it’s definitely political. I would like to say to all young girls
who want to play: Never quit because
someone else tells you to- -or tells you that you can’t.
We deserve more. We have to keep going
and take the fight.

About the Author: Garret Beatty

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