I have loved watching all sports since I was a child, particularly football, so much so that when I was younger one of my ambitions was to become a football commentator.
Nothing wrong with that you might say, apart from the fact that you’re a girl you might also have thought.
The FA ban on women’s football, a sport which had been so big during World War One by the way, had only been lifted in 1971, so was still on people’s minds at the time when I was considering a career in sport, in the early 1980s. It was pretty much unheard of for a woman to be involved in football as a commentator or pundit at that time, so my ambitions to be involved in a massively male dominated sport were received by most as totally ridiculous and laughable.
Anybody who took my goal (excuse the pun) seriously advised me against pursuing this particular dream, their thoughts were that I would face a huge struggle and would be severely discriminated against because I was female.
I knew that it would take guts, drive and determination to even consider such a career, and despite the fact that my parents have always encouraged me to follow my dreams whatever they may be and never had any time for gender prejudice, I decided that I wasn’t brave enough to take on the man’s world of football at that time.
I am pleased to say that women seem to have become more accepted in sport these days, we now have a successful international ladies football team attracting a huge following and more female commentators/pundits popping up all the time. I only wish that I had felt courageous enough to have been one of those pioneers back in the day.
The point I am making is that with the recent celebration of International Womens Day and the emphasis on helping women and girls to achieve their ambitions, please discourage gender prejudice and do not ever let it get in the way of your aspirations and dreams.