In a sporting world where we are endlessly competing for gender equality, we seem to be missing a target we should probably consider aiming for. We seem to be scared to take a step backwards – to play the ball away from our goal – out of fear we’ll struggle to go forward again, to concede the most comical of own goals.
Chelsea boss Emma Hayes isn’t afraid, though. The two-time WSL and FA Cup winner thinks the goals women use are “just a little too big”. Her words obviously drew some criticism from those with the most fear.
The key to this, is-one glove doesn’t fit all. However understanding what our bodies need to perform at our best is so individual. The article scratches the surface of the details behind our culture but it’s an important event that occurs every month that’s needs more awareness. https://t.co/s8AK0KKtfs— Emma Hayes MBE (@emmahayes1) February 14, 2020
Wales midfielder Jess Fishlock spearheaded the attack, managing nothing more than a hasty clearance into row Z, however. She took to Twitter to voice her opinion.
“The goal size does not need to be changed,” she said.
“If the keeper makes a mistake, it’s a mistake – not because the goal is too big.”
Karen Bardsley, who has 81 caps for England, had a little more elegance about her play.
The goalkeeper argued: “We have fought so hard to change the perception of female athletes across the planet and I am not sure that (decreasing goal sizes) would be beneficial.
“We are trying to keep it on par and drive equality.”
Her point is fair, square even – not particularly progressive, nor degressive. But is the equality we’re after what we actually need to be ‘equal’?
Logistically, equality is the even distribution of an income or wealth – which is in this case respect by regulative rules – and relies on nothing but fact. Hereby if we want equality, we’re want goal sizes to stay the same, as well as pitch sizes and minutes played etc. Ultimately, it means we want to play a game designed for men and their physical capabilities. But, for a span of 50 years they were the only ones allowed to even play the game. They are the default.
We should instead consider aiming for equity. Equity is the distribution of an income or wealth, but by a more subjective judgement. It offers what’s needed for two to become equal. And becoming equal is what we should be after.
We, as two genders, have varying needs. Women are, on average, five inches shorter and carry a higher ratio of body fat to muscle than men, thanks to our differing levels of testosterone and oestrogen. We are quite simply smaller and less powerful, and cannot be expected to perform to the same capabilities as our male counterparts.
And so, decreasing goal sizes will only help. It will allow us to showcase the abilities we do have, rather than highlight the gap in physical performance.
Making such a pass backwards would not be restrictive to our chances of scoring equal respect, but instead open up space we can explore to then stand an actual chance of winning. While equality is, one could say, too big a goal, equity is far more suitable.
Follow our live blog to keep up to date with the rest of the day’s news.