Alexandra Culvin – New realities for professional women footballers in England

Video of Alexandra Culvin  (UCLAN, UK) of her presentation at the Football, Politics and Popular Culture conference, Limerick (2017).

Please note: the sound quality is not fantastic – however the content is – find a quiet room and turn the volume up! 

 

‘New realities for professional women footballers in England’

Alexandra Culvin – University of Central Lancashire ACulvin@uclan.ac.uk
This presentation will discuss preliminary results from interviews with elite women
footballers currently competing in the FA WSL. The aim was to identify and explore the
career paths of women footballers, clarify their perceptions of the impact of professionalisation, and identify work-life and family friendly policies and practices and how and if players use them. Women’s football is in a period of transition. The FA WSL formed in 2011, to provide elite women footballers with space in the footballing calendar. On the surface the FA appears to have achieved its ambition. However, despite significant expansion in areas such as public and media attention on women’s football, income from sponsorship and crucially for this research, the payment of professional women players – we must cheer with reserve. Employment and work-life issues are high on the European political agenda and the crux of this research aims to explore whether and how employment and welfare policies impact on the careers of women footballers. Despite increased attention on elite women footballers, players appear to joining a men’s game on men’s terms. First level of data analysis portrays players feeling partially integrated into professional status while significantly a narrow understanding of their subordination. As data revealed players developed insecure feelings towards their work as a result of inconsistencies at clubs, limited infrastructure and a lack of trust in clubs which has given rise to increased wellbeing concerns.
Alex Culvin is a former professional women’s footballer. She is 18 months into her PhD
researching the working lives of professional women footballers.

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