Gareth Southgate says England team set-up urgently needs more women involved
"What world do I want for my daughter?"
Gareth Southgate has said he needs to hire more women to be involved with the England set-up, calling the gender balance within the FA 'nowhere near where we should be'.
The England men's team manager said the FA had improved on the whole regarding gender equality, with 38 per cent of all FA staff being female. But he also acknowledged how much more needs to be done, citing his daughter saying, "Oh, that’s good is it?" in response to the statistic.
Speaking at the Royal Television Society’s Cambridge convention, as quoted by the Guardian, Southgate said his family life had inspired this push for equality.
"What world do I want for my daughter? What opportunities do I want for my daughter?" he said.
The last few years has seen women's football surge in popularity, with England's women's team reaching the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup in France and the WSL securing a lucrative TV rights deal.
Southgate reflected on this shift, recalling: "I meet dads who proudly come up and say: ‘My daughter plays football.’ Five years ago that didn’t happen. I don’t know if that’s because the girls weren’t playing or the dads weren’t proud they were playing.
"That’s different to where we are with diversity of staff in the [England men’s] team. We’ve got a staff of 40 so [two women is] nowhere near where we should be."
The England boss was also keen to praise the social campaigning of his players, who have changed the public image of his team through their use of social media.
"With the national team there’s more at stake than just the football," he said, referencing players taking the knee and speaking out against racist abuse.
"The most heartening thing for me has been the people coming up to me celebrating their feeling of connection to the team who have been Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Afro-Caribbean. The change in that over the last 18 months has been incredible. I didn’t realise how disconnected from those communities we were."