Arsenal have taken a huge step towards equality in football by dropping the ‘ladies’ from their name.
From now on, Arsenal Ladies will just be ‘Arsenal’ or ‘Arsenal Women’ in situations where clarity is needed.
Arsenal have always been at the forefront of women’s football and this year celebrate 30 years in the game after Vic Akers formed Arsenal Ladies FC in 1987.
They’ve gone on to win 43 major trophies, making them the most successful team in English women’s football, and helped develop some of the best players in the sport.
To many, simply dropping the ‘ladies’ part of the title may seem like a small, perhaps insignificant step. However, it’s actually key move in the fight for equality in the game.
As Arsenal’s website says, “This is a clear signal of togetherness and unity and is more in keeping with modern day thinking on equality.”
While distinction will be made were necessary, Arsenal is one club. All the players, male or female, play for the same shirt.
In a message to the fans on Arsenal’s website, captain Alex Scott has described it as a ‘bold statement of intent, support and unity’, adding, “The term ‘Women’ delineates between men and women without as many stereotypes or preconceived notions and it is in keeping with modern day thinking on equality.”
Whenever the men play, there’s no clarification needed. No one refers to them as the Arsenal Men. Whether we like to admit it or not, they’re seen as the ‘default’ Arsenal team – the ‘real’ Arsenal. Whereas the women are seen as some secondary team. Like some spin off of a big TV show.
People will watch it if the real thing isn’t on but only if they’re desperate and if it does well, perhaps better than the main show, they like to pretend they’ve always thought it was ace.
Making this step and simply referring to both teams under the same name shows that the women’s and the men’s teams are equal and united.
There’s a long way to go and women’s football may never have the time or support and finding as the men’s game, but at least we’re pushing in the right direction.
I’m very proud of my club right now.