• Arsenal manager says she has ‘never felt any challenge’ as a manager • ‘It’s great if women can take on the jobs but then go into other roles’
Emma Hayes, the Arsenal manager, said it was important for women to pursue their sports careers rather than concentrate on other careers.
Hayes said: “My background is English and I’ve never felt any challenge whatsoever as a manager. You’re never worried you’re not earning enough for the club. It’s great if women can take on jobs and then go into other roles but we do find that during an England World Cup campaign, when they’re trying to do promotion, they have to focus on the players in the stadium.
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“If you work in any environment and you want to move up, you have to take the opportunities that present themselves and not worry about other opportunities. I’ve managed for 20 years in the international women’s game and at Arsenal for the last 10 years. The fact I’ve never felt any challenge or threats because I’m a woman, that’s fantastic and I think that’s important to support.
“Women have been equal with men for a long time now. We need to celebrate that because we’re not aware we’re equal. I want to look at ways to celebrate women having a hand on the wheel. I get stopped once in a while but now my profile’s huge and I like the focus that comes with that.”
The 34-year-old added that players who were promoted when they were younger had a slightly harder time.
“We’re asking women to have a much lower wage structure, but we need to do it for them to have an opportunity to achieve their potential. Even when you see them and they’re 35 years old they still have to play men’s football for the amount of hours they put in to keep playing.”
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England’s World Cup winger Jo Potter told the Guardian last month that she was used to abuse during matches but she had experienced more in recent times, while Liverpool Ladies’ midfielder Laura Bassett described the death threats and violence that players have experienced in the past four years as “exhausting”.
Hayes, who is a BBC pundit during the World Cup finals, said: “You don’t get abuse any more from referees because women are the referees. You get abuse from the crowd on the pitch. The fans really aren’t allowed to shout at the women. We’re so lucky in terms of the atmosphere [at England games].
“I think the World Cup will definitely help women play the game and to go to tournaments and receive the recognition they deserve. I know some of the women players have done quite a few things off the pitch but you don’t see them from a media perspective.”