One in four female fans suffer sexism at matches, Scottish football survey reveals

One in four female football supporters has suffered misogynistic or sexist abuse at Scottish football matches, a fans survey has revealed.

An even higher proportion have suffered similar abuse online when discussing men’s football.

Female fans want the matters “taken seriously” said Eve Ralph, co-founder of Her Game Too campaign group, after viewing the results of a poll where almost half revealed they wouldn’t know where to report incidents occurring in Scottish grounds.

She said: “When dealing with sexist or misogynistic complaints female fans simply want the matter to be ‘taken seriously’ and for punishment of offenders to be handled appropriately, whether that be for abuse in the stadium or elsewhere.”

(Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

In total 426 fans were questioned by the Scottish Football Supporters Association and HGT and found 61 per cent had witnessed online sexist abuse and 31% had experienced the misogyny.

The survey did reveal though, that defiant fans would not let it deter them attending, with only nine percent saying it influenced going to their club’s games – although it became more of a consideration in travelling to and from stadia with 19% saying sexist abuse influenced plans.

Once inside grounds 88% felt safe, or fairly safe, watching men’s football and three-quarters felt the same discussing the game in social setting – though an even split was registered between those who had and had not received sexist abuse when talking about football socially.

SFSA chairman Andy Smith added: “Scottish Football is showing improvement but still has a way to go. Sadly some dinosaurs still exist but I’m hopeful and confident there is a wind of change blowing though society and the good news is it has reached football.

“From top to bottom our game has to welcome female supporters and the changes needed to keep them safe and happy.

“The SFSA will continue to work with HGT and encourage football to take this audience more seriously.

“The commercial opportunities alone from growing the female audience beyond its current 8% should put this at the very top of all club’s agendas”.

Almost four in every five respondents said their clubs made them feel welcome through marketing and club operations, but among the replies for how the issue should be tackled, taking complaints seriously and appropriate punishments were most common.