Why The Women's World Cup Matters

August 10, 2012 09:00 ET

Why the Women's World Cup Matters: Hall of Famer Shines Spotlight On Gender Inequality In Canadian Soccer

Upcoming FIFA 2015 World Cup in Canada could provide a legacy of change

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Aug. 10, 2012) - Former women's Canadian National team member and the first woman inductee to the Canadian soccer hall of fame, Carrie Serwetnyk, is calling out male-dominated soccer associations and local organizations in Canada for profiting from and preventing women from advancing in soccer. To make her case, she has launched an online campaign (http://whythewomensworldcupmatters.com).

Serwetnyk is calling for an equal share of soccer sponsorship revenues and leadership opportunities for the betterment of girls and women in Canada so that future generations can experience equality and empowerment on and off the field.

Her personal goal is to create outreach initiatives and programs to women's businesses, First Nations communities and children where she believes soccer can unite and make a difference in developing confidence to dream big. "I cannot expect the soccer organizations dominated by men to really care about empowering girls, but I'm sure they can see a profit from it. I think it's time for girls and women to be able to step up and take part in more profound roles throughout our country."

"Women should benefit equally from the business and leadership avenues generated from soccer, where 47% of the national membership is female," said Serwetnyk. "Today, our sport is male-dominated, and despite the strong showing of Canada's national women's team, women are still treated like second class citizens in this country."

"If you look around, essentially all professional club managers and coaches on the field are men. The Canadian Soccer Association didn't have a female board member for almost 100 years," said Serwetnyk. "We are paying their salaries and then being systematically excluded from leadership opportunities and sponsorship revenues."

At a recent FIFA Women's World Cup Symposium, Serwetnyk silenced a room filled with hundreds of male coaches and dignitaries, stating, "When I look around this room, and no offense to all of the men, almost everyone leading and deciding the women's game is a man, and it's not like you are going to give up your position to find a woman who is equally qualified or better than you. So, what are we supposed to do"? The French National Coach responded: "There are not enough competent women."

"I believe on many levels that soccer can change the world for girls if they have the opportunity to play. It already does for boys and men," said Serwetnyk. "The Canadian women's team has just proved that we are more than just competent. We want an equal playing field for the World Cup in 2015."

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