Arsenal Ladies legend, Rachel Yankey, has called for more female coaches in top managerial roles.
The 37-year-old, who started playing with the Gunners in 1996, said she’d like to see more females being entrusted with significant roles at the top in football.
Yankey herself is expecting her first child having retired from professional football last year and is also working towards earning a UEFA A coaching licence.
England’s most capped player ever with 129 appearances, Yankey revealed her concern with the fact that women have a low chance of earning high-profile posts unless they already have impressive reputations.
“There’s some fantastic female coaches at a high level,” Yankey was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
“But if you spoke to those coaches they’d tell you it wasn’t an easy process. They were already recognised players moving on into coaching.
“They were in the game, knowing the right people, but for people now that are perhaps not in the game but have the love of coaching, it’s quite a difficult and expensive process to get involved in.”
Giving examples to support her point, she cited former England Ladies boss Hope Powell and Shelley Kerr, who was previously Arsenal manager, as two former players who have enjoyed success both on the pitch and after an eventual move to the touchline.
Female managers are often tough to find in the men’s professional game and some of the best jobs in women’s football go to men too. England manager Mark Sampson, Manchester City Women’s Nick Cushing and even Arsenal boss Pedro Martinez Losa are good examples of this.
UEFA licences are expensive and take plenty of time to complete, so it’s understandable that they are perceived as a waste of money for women if they fail to generate credible opportunities to carve out a successful career over time.
“People are perhaps put off because of the lack of job opportunities,” Yankey continued.
“If we can have more jobs available where women are applying and getting job interviews and then getting jobs, whether they’re as the manager of the team or whether they’re assistant or at academy level, or first-team level… it’s still an environment where the coaching team is diverse and has women within it.
“You should be able to go for any job. Whether you get that job – the best coach should get it – you should feel confident enough that you’ve passed the same course as somebody else.
“I think it will help the male game at academy, at senior level, to have a more diverse coaching team available to the players. Female coaches can bring something to the game perhaps different to male coaches.”
Yankey will be hoping that her comments eventually make a difference as there is still gender inequality within football, something that many are trying to resolve.