Arsenal Strong on Gender Pay Gap But a Lot of Work Still to be Done

Trying to find things at which Arsenal excel isn’t difficult but we’re a club of extremes. On the pitch? Not very good. Fans game of hide-and-seek? World champion hiders; look at those gaps at the Emirates. Gender Pay Gap? World class.

Which is a curious thing to say considering there’s a 79.6% gap in the average hourly wage paid to men and women. Take out the first team players and staff, however, and women earn 2.5% more than men. It’s an unusual return for football when the likes of Southampton, supposedly a modern, forward-thinking club, shows a 37% imbalance in favour of males after taking players out of the equation.

Arsenal do get things right.

Some years ago the AST funded a corporate governance audit of Arsenal and the club didn’t come out of it well. The same problems then – lack of diversity at the highest levels, based on race and gender – still exist now. Ivan, full of his good intentions, wants to address these issues, not only on the board but also in the senior positions at the club.

Being full of good intentions and actually doing something about it are two quite different things.

It’s harsh to criticise Gazidis singularly about this. The entirely white and mainly geriatric board is to blame. The white and geriatric majority shareholder is the real culprit. It’s a different circle with different sets of rules and expectations to his ‘home turf’ and Enos isn’t adapting well.

There is no reason why we don’t have female directors or those from ethnic minorities; Arsenal is a club based in a London borough with a diverse population. It’s a global brand, pushing itself into the lives of millions, irrespective of race, gender or anything else.

But not at the top level; That’s jobs for the boys. Some things Arsenal do well, some not so.

Any Tiny Step of Advancement

Some will argue (wrongly, in my view) that there aren’t suitable candidates or it isn’t important. One example. We run a successful women’s football club, have done for years. Their ‘board champion’ is a male. Why?

And don’t get me started on the Living Wage. 20-year contracts don’t preclude Arsenal from pressurising their suppliers into paying the Living Wage. We do it for direct club employees, but what about other low-paid workers who help Enos make his investment rise in value?

When we get it right at Arsenal – and there’s a lot of good things going on in communities around the world – we get it really right. But when we don’t bother, when we don’t try, we’re hopeless. As buried in the out-dated thinking which pervades football, as any other club.

There was a twitter exchange which underlines it isn’t just Arsenal which has to address its’ thinking on gender issues, even allowing for trolls, etc. The replies are a fascinating trawl into the human psyche, as well as underlining the work left in promoting equality.

Some will argue that Arsenal are better than others and that is true. The whole of football needs to get its arse in gear on so many levels. A lot of good people try their hardest every minute of every day to improve that situation; it’s a slow and often thankless task, but they keep on doing it.

They need an elite club to take the lead. Why not Arsenal?

Like a Raindrop Falling into the Ocean

You may say, you’re a dreamer, son. Get on with the football. Well, this is football. We can either let it become another commodity to be pushed over the counter or we can keep it as the game of the people, one which has a role to play at the centre of our communities. The definition of communities has changed; they are broader than the two square miles of our part of London, they are global.

And that makes Arsenal’s social responsibilities even more important. People talk about the Arsenal Way. As if we do things the right way, all the time. Maybe the Arsenal Way needs to change. Maybe it is no longer good enough for it to just be a mission statement which is little more than a catchphrase.

It’s time for it to count for something within the organisation itself.

’til Tomorrow.

49 thoughts on “Arsenal Strong on Gender Pay Gap But a Lot of Work Still to be Done

  1. Arsenal had a female board member long ago, probably the only one in English football at the time, Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith.

  2. We did. We used to have a title-winning side as well. Neither of those things serve any purpose beyond memories.

  3. Good topic. Good piece.
    Discussion opened.
    Rejoinder: “We did. ”

    We now return to our regular programming.


  4. Can I come back now?
    Test series v Sth Africa is now embarrassingly over !
    Good article YW.
    This is an extremely slow moving beast, particularly in sporting clubs. Men don’t like giving up their domain. Just another glass ceiling to be smashed, but our Board don’t show any inclination to care about what the supporters think. So I think it will take something extraordinary to convince Kroenke or the Board , to open up a Board room position to a smart woman.

  5. Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith was a Director as a result of her shareholding.
    Without any reflection on her ability, of which I have no idea, appointing a woman solely as a result of her ability is indeed a different issue. Hope it happens though.

  6. That was a superb piece of writing and certainly though-provoking.

    Adaptation and progress is the one thing that futbol as a whole struggles with off the pitch. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a female manager sooner rather than later. The Spurs of the NBA and their coach Greg Popovich hired the first female mens coach, Becky Hammon, to be his assistant and he made a similar point about who cares about their gender if they are smart and of the highest level at their profession. Its strange that in a society that is as welcoming to the LGBT community as ever still brushes aside the notion of a female coaching up a man.

    I mean lets be honest, I would gladly take Marta and her futboling brain / IQ over the majority of professional men.

  7. @Phil,
    The point is, if members of the original Board had NOT been persuaded to accept Kroenke’s tempting offer for their shares, we would not be in the present position of having to accept a single ownership.
    Unless, via (say) a future consortium, Arsenal FC will not be able to change the status quo. 😉

  8. Arsene has spoken:

    on the team news…
    We basically have everybody available I think.

    on whether Lacazette is ready to start…
    Lacazette is ready to start, yes. I have not decided if he will start or not yet, but he’s available and ready to start.

    on who starts in goal…
    That as well… you will see that tomorrow.


  9. There is legitimately no reason why Welbeck should start over Lacazette, maybe Iwobi or one of Jack or Ramsey on the right but certainly not for Lacazette as a CF.

    In goal, well I would go Macey…

  10. I’m with you, Yogi. We’ve made a lot of our “Way” in recent years, whilst feeling like we’ve got further away from it. It would be something to really take charge of our identity and smash some glass ceilings. If not us, who will go first? We’re best placed to, with the most diverse fanbase in the country. Plus, all the other fans already think of us as effeminate francophile lefties who don’t like it up ’em. How satisfying to beat ’em with a woman at the helm? Perhaps one of our legends (we have rather more female than male ones from recent years)? Shit, I often think Kim Little could have improved the men’s team at points.

  11. Knowing Arsenal, they’d appoint Sarah Palin.

    What are you doing to encourage more / any female commentators to your site?

  12. C,

    Agree. Laca changed the game on Sunday imo. I think he and Lacazette could work well as Laca does a lot of leg work, good finisher and is tough player to handle and Auba has the ability of right place right time and a ferocious finisher.

    I can’t honestly believe Welbeck is still an Arsenal player. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good athlete but he’s not a top team striker.

    I’m a bit on the fence about tomorrows game, don’t know what Arsenal will turn up and any time we play a team who get riled up we tend to lose our heads. Not an easy fixture.

  13. MesutsLeftFoot,

    I agree, Lacazette and Aubameyang can play together both for what you have mentioned as well as thr fact both are former wingers and both drift to the flanks as well as they are willing to drop a bit deepet and let somebody run off them.

    Welbeck as a hard-working winger works but not somebody you should count on at CF or for goals.

    Tomorrow, I just have this feeling that the players will be motivated to put the tie to bed and more than anything Lacazette will be motivated to not only prove doubters like Bill wrong but also get to the Europa Final which happens to be in Lyon.

  14. No Dukey. When last did Liverpool and City ever play in the UCL ?
    If I was a CB playing against Real Madrid, I would have found a way to knock a good injury into C.Ronaldo at a spot where I wouldn’t concede a penalty and just try to reduce his efficiency.
    Look at the red card conceded by Dybala, first he dived and he wasted the second by kicking someone irrelevant. Where’s the old school wisdom of kicking the important actors where it can count ?

  15. Nicky,
    Maybe they were seduced by the coin, or had some unplaced faith that Stan was the man. How wrong they were.
    Can’t blame anybody for selling their shares really. Just wished they had done their due diligence better on Kroenke. His record as an owner of sporting teams , in terms of success is horrible.

  16. The Russian league obviously aren’t interested in helping CSKA, as they play on Monday eve 9th in a Moscow derby before Arsenal on the 12th!

  17. Phew, Arsene has said we have recovered from our crisis! He also said he cannot give a definite date on when the next one will be!

  18. Why didn’t we buy Milner? A proper footballer. No frills but bags of determination and effort. Just a couple of the things that we have lacked for years.

    He is a throwback.

  19. Liverpool 3-0. You don’t need or even necessarily want the worlds greatest creative #10 when you attack at pace and get the ball into the attacking end before the defense has a chance to set up. It takes about 1 heart beat for Liverpool to turn defense into attack

  20. True Colts.
    It seems Liverpool want to do a Porto repeat. Score as many goals as possible.

    I think Wenger should be ashamed.

  21. Well Bill they understand the system and they can produce the efficiency the coach wants so Liverpool plays direct football and their attackers are creative.

  22. I think the correct word should be skillful.

    Honestly we need to invest in a new manager and strong defenders, plus a defensive midfielder.

  23. We used to do this fine dining at the top table lark, now we are standing outside in the pissing down rain with our face pressed up against the glass staring in waiting to rummage through the wheelie bins for any scraps.

    And to think we exchanged our spiritual home for a concrete bowl for the privilege as well…

  24. I’d say it would be insane to allow Wenger to see out his contract but we’ve gotten this far down the road, i guess we’ll be chasing Burnley next year for a el spot.

  25. lari03:
    I think the correct word should be skillful.

    Honestly we need to invest in a new manager and strong defenders, plus a defensive midfielder.

    Men, indeed, not mice…

  26. Dukey,

    Indeed, Duke.

    YW, where are those ‘Highbury did not die for this’ T shirts that you promised us?

    Not trying to do me out of my creative cut of the action, I hope!

  27. lari03,

    Shhhhh don’t tell Bill that Firmino in Germany was actually a #10 who would get 9-12 goals and 10plus assists and Klopp has transformed and developed him along with Salah and Mane.

    Interesting what a proper manager with a proper plan and system can do for the collective as well as the individual. Give our current lot to any attacking manager and I would bet quite a lot that we would be quite a devastating side.

  28. Us gooners have a lot in common with west ham at the moment, both clubs have been duped into letting the board smash down their loved homes and move into concrete corporate bowls in exchange for better days…

  29. Embarrassing how far behind the top teams Arsenal are now. Just hope we don’t embarrass ourselves further tonight. I think not though.

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