Please Call Me a Woman and Not a Lady, London Female Footballer Says

Published August 1st, 2018 - 12:03 GMT
(Hackney Women's Football Club)
(Hackney Women's Football Club)

A female football team has called time on followers referring to them as ladies, deeming it offensive and suggestive that women belong in the kitchen. 

For more than 30 years Hackney Women's Football Club has welcomed women who love playing the Beautiful Game.

But senior members of the team have now warned people to stop calling them a 'ladies' side because it carries the connotation that they should 'be in the kitchen and not on the pitch.'

Club player and Treasurer, Kristina Maddocks, ignited the debate when she said she told people off for referring to them as 'ladies.'

She said the term made many members feel uncomfortable and that the word 'women' was far more empowering.

She said: 'It's not offensive to be referred to as a ladies club but at the same time it almost is.

'It's loaded, in the sense of you're meant to be a lady and your meant to behave in a particular way and that's not just in sport, that's in life.

'Being a man or woman or other doesn't have the connotation of being a "stay in your place, you should be in the kitchen" term.

'If something's not very ladylike it's very negative.'

The club in Hackney, east London, was founded in 1986, by a group of women who wanted to play football but who were all gay.

Now, around 95 per cent of members are lesbians. But Ms Maddocks said many had grown tired of being dubbed a ladies' team.

She added: 'It was never Hackney ladies - that was one thing they were all sure of when they founded the club.

'It comes back to the notion of men and women not being equal, and I think that's why we've always preferred being referred to as a women's club because that's what we are - women.

'Women is more empowering. We are women.

'Some of the older members would be pretty peeved if we were to ever change the name to ladies.

'Even if you say "right ladies" they will pull you up and say "women."

During the 80s, when homophobia was rife, Hackney faced a barrage of criticism and members had to fight for its very existence.

Today, the club is thriving with 45 members made up of all ages, the youngest 17 and the eldest 54.

It boasts a number of teams, a 1st XI, reserves and a veterans' side, playing their home matches at the Marshes.

Paul Mortimer, Non-Executive Director of the London FA, said: 'Hackney Women's Football Club - who have formed London's first predominantly lesbian team - are a shining example that football is moving in the right direction to accept everybody and become an inclusive sport.

'It is essential that teams like Hackney Women's FC continue to lead the way and break down the barriers that exist in our sport.'

And Phil Smith, Sport England's Director of Sport said: 'Everyone should be able to take part in sport to enjoy the physical and mental health benefits it brings, regardless of their age, background, or sexuality.

'Hackney Women's Football Club is a deliberately inclusive club and we wish them every success.'

The first recorded game of women's football in England took place in 1895.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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