À l’appui des femmes au stade

Football, Solidarity

When Ligue 1 side Lyon played Lille on January 28 of this year, a fan in the Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium held up a banner. It wasn’t to show support for the home side or even something directed towards the opponent. One side showed a male figure with the word ‘stade’ (stadium) underneath and an arrow pointing down. The other side had a female figure with the word ‘cuisine’ (kitchen) beneath it and an arrow pointing to the right.

This misogynistic display, implying that men belong at football and women in the kitchen, was even held up in an area where many women supporters could be seen watching the game and supporting the team.

When the images of the banner made it onto social media, Lyon’s chairman Jean-Michel Aulas confirmed that the club would take action against the individual responsible. The incident also caught the attention of Wendie Renard, the captain of Lyon’s women’s team Olympique Lyon, who asked on Twitter, “Lyon supporters…can you give me an explanation for that banner? The men at the stadium, the women in the kitchen”? Particularly ironic given that Olympique Lyon is the most successful club in the history of Division 1 Féminine with fourteen league titles and are also the highest ranked club in UEFA.

While derogatory banners towards women on a gameday aren’t common, sexism at matches is still prevalent. According to a 2015 survey conducted by the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) in 25% of women have heard sexist comments and 18.5% have heard sexist chants. Female supporters have also been questioned for their reason for attending a match. 21% of women have been told they were only there because “they fancied the players”, and 9.5% have been accused of only attending because their husband or boyfriend was.

Imagine going to a football game to see the team you support and to see a banner informing you that you should be cooking in the kitchen instead, or have someone question why you’re there in the first place.

A football match should be a place that anyone can go to, regardless of gender.

At Clapton, we welcome everyone. On March 4th, we are showing our solidarity with women supporters at Lyon and around the world, as part of our recognition of International Women’s Day at our game against Hullbridge.