“It’s not just a woman’s job to fight sexism” – Sutton United and HerGameToo in equality rallying call

4 min

“It can feel lonely for women at football matches,” confessed lifelong Sutton United fan Sarah Aitchison.

Thankfully a new campaign, HerGameToo, has been launched to champion equality within the game and make the matchday experience more welcoming for female fans like Sarah.

Founded in May 2021, the initiative now has over a third of EFL sides as official partners (with another seven Premier League clubs) with each club having a HerGameToo ambassador on board.

Sarah has been appointed as Sutton’s ambassador and is delighted at how the club has supported her so far in trying to eradicate sexism and the feeling of ‘helplessness’ for women in football.

Speaking exclusively to London Football Scene, Sarah said: “Each partnering club has really embraced us – particularly Sutton.

“They have gone above and beyond for HerGameToo, from allowing us to sponsor Catherine Chambers (Sutton’s sports therapist) to having a dedicated fixture (at home to Harrogate).

“Sutton are drawing bigger crowds and people will see how much of a community club we are by the amount they are doing and it really is a brilliant time for them to get involved in the campaign.”

The win over Harrogate saw Matt Gray’s side wear HerGameToo t-shirts in the warm-up while the Women’s team featured on the front of the matchday programme and did a lap of honour with the league trophy they won last season.

Sutton are also providing free entry to the Women’s home games with multiple posters around the stadium to promote the campaign, raise awareness and support women in football.

Sarah, who like many women has received sexist abuse at games in the past, believes the campaign’s visibility and club’s wholehearted support is key in changing attitudes.

READ MORE: Sutton United boss Matt Gray proves not all headaches are bad after a successful transfer window

“It (sexism) can make women feel left out, unwelcome or unsafe – football matches can feel lonely for women,” Sarah said.

“We need to notice the little things – we want equality. Football is football – ignoring it will not make it go away.

“I like people to see there is a problem because we do not want football to be seen as just a male sport.”

With England’s Lionesses winning this summer’s Euros and Sutton United Women promoted after clinching the Division One North title in the London & South East Regional League there has never been a better time to get involved in the Women’s game.

But while the popularity continues to grow, it has shone a light on how much work still needs to be done at all levels of the game.

“(When) a female becomes the manager of a men’s team, they still would have to have a thick skin and be very brave,” Sarah added.

“It is unfair, but someone will have to be first although it is also not just a woman’s job to fight sexism – everyone needs to be ready to fight it.

“Unfortunately the people we are targeting will not listen to women, so the more people who we do get onboard can help change that.”

READ MORE: Women’s Super League 2022/23: How will Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and West Ham fare?

Rochdale goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell is one such ally, joining up as a player advocate and it is hoped more will follow him and the football clubs that are already behind the movement.

With HerGameToo now branching out into different sports, it’s been an incredible year or so since 12 female football fans first got together to set the campaign up – and it’s fair to say the movement’s voices will only get louder.

For more information on the campaign, visit the HerGameToo website.

Images from Sutton United’s HerGameToo match against Harrogate provided with thanks to Paul Loughlin/Sutton United FC.


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