Campbell pledges to stamp out misogyny across footbal

The former SNP politician Aileen Campbell deplored ‘depressing misogynistic tropes’ being peddled across football as she pledged to stamp out discrimination in Scotland.

In March, former Rangers’ midfielder Joey Barton faced backlash for his comments on 17-year-old Partick Thistle goalkeeper Ava Easdon in the Scottish Women’s Premier League Cup final.

Campbell, who is now the Scottish Women’s Football CEO, insisted the targeted tweet is just one example of misogyny within the game that risks impacting SWF divisions and grassroots clubs.

And the 43-year-old admits that these incidents can harm the growth of the game, with Campbell responsible for growing the pillars of the women’s football pyramid alongside SWPL boss Fiona McIntyre.

She said: “These things are really depressing because we’ve taken giant steps forward and you think you’re going on the right trajectory and we’re growing the game, trying to support women and girls playing.

“The games are getting more competitive, there are more people going along and there’s more interest in the media and commercial interest.

“For those depressing tropes to be peddled by someone with a platform like Joey Barton is sad.

“It legitimises people to comment so it goes further and further, it’s an uneducated assessment of the game.

“Unfortunately, misogyny is not just limited to women in football, it’s something that women in all walks of like have to put up with all too frequently.”

Last year, Women in Football’s biggest-ever survey revealed 82 per cent of women working within the industry have experienced some form of discrimination at work.

Campbell acknowledged that a big step towards eradicating those outdated attitudes is to make it easier for women to come forwards when they are put in that situation.

She said: “We need to provide ourselves with a space where we can call it out and feel supported, so we don’t hesitate and think, ‘what are the consequences and implications for my job or my club?”.

“We have a collective strength to support and provide solidarity that we don’t just put up with it.

“It’s not what we should be aspiring to for the many girls who are joining our game in their thousands.”

Campbell spoke on a panel at Women in Football’s first public event in Scotland at Hampden Park, which aimed to empower and connect professional networks from across the country.

The event, supported by Sodexo Live!, hosted an honest conversation on Scottish football’s trajectory and the challenges faced by women across the industry.

Having last qualified for a major tournament in 2019, Campbell believes Women’s Euro 2025 qualification for Scotland’s Women’s national team can offer momentum within her organisation which will trickle down to grassroots clubs, empowering those across all roles within the game.

The 2016 Minister for Public Health and Sport added: “After 2017 and 2019 there was a whole thought, ‘how do we not lose that momentum’ and what does that mean for the next generation of players who are coming through behind those squads?

“The building blocks are there now that we’ve got the adequate steps in place to make that impactful.”

Images: Steve Welsh

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