We interviewed Cardiff City football player Gemma Evans and boxer Charlene Jones
DtL: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into your chosen sport?
Charlene: I first got introduced to boxing through my dad; he used to box and took me to a local boxing gym. From there I haven’t looked back!
⚽ Gemma: I currently play for Cardiff City and Wales. I started my footballing journey at the age 10, playing for my local team Ton & Gelli. At the age of 13 I moved to Ferndale Fillies (a girls only team), the next season the club name changed to Cambrian, and then a few years later it changed again to Valleys United. Under this name we were a very successful team and won not only the League Cup Final, Welsh cup but also the League. Unfortunately the senior team folded a season later, so I moved on to play for Port Talbot Town Ladies for two years.
I am currently playing my second season with Cardiff City Ladies in the English Premier League.
“In the past people have said things such as ‘women shouldn’t play football – it’s like watching paint dry'” – Gemma
DtL: What is it like to be a woman in the industry? Have you ever experienced prejudice because of attitudes towards your gender?
Charlene: It’s frustrating at times, especially when you tell people and they don’t understand why you are doing it. There are always challenges but it’s getting a lot better these days – although we are going to have to keep on battling as it’s still such a male dominated sport. I deal with sexism by telling people to watch the standard of women’s boxing and then give me a valid reason why we shouldn’t box. We are just as good, if not sometimes better than the boys 😂.
⚽ Gemma: Yes, unfortunately I have experienced sexism because of attitudes towards my gender. In the past people have said things such as “women shouldn’t play football – it’s like watching paint dry” or “ women give football a bad name because it’s so boring”. I just laugh it off and tell them how I feel about the sport and their jealous remarks.
DtL: Our research revealed that 35% of teenage girls believe their gender will have a negative impact on their career. What advice would you give to young girls who want to pursue a hobby/ career in an area traditionally considered ‘masculine’?
⚽ Gemma: Don’t worry about what other people think or say about you, just find what you love to do and enjoy doing it!
DtL: Have you ever experienced bullying? If so can you tell us what happened and how you handled the situation?
Charlene: I have yes. In school I was called a ‘boy’ and a ‘man’ just because I was always playing sports and hanging about with boys more than girls. I was only a kid so I was able to just laugh it off and carry on doing what I was doing.
⚽ Gemma: I have never experienced bullying as such, but what I have experienced is sly and jealous remarks about female footballers – especially regarding the sexuality of female footballers.
“In school I was called a ‘boy’ and a ‘man’ just because I was always playing sports” – Charlene
DtL: If you could go back in time what one thing would you tell your younger self?
Charlene: Always follow your dreams and don’t let anyone stand in the way of them.
⚽ Gemma: I would definitely tell myself not to worry or take any notice of the people who have negative attitudes or comments towards myself and the sport I fell in love with.
DtL: What advice do you have for those currently experiencing bullying?
Charlene: Talk to someone about it – don’t let it eat you up inside. It’s good to talk and express how you are feeling.
⚽ Gemma: I would definitely tell them to speak to their parents or someone they trust because they can help them deal with it, and, you shouldn’t have to go through something like this alone.