The 2018 FIFA World Cup is well underway, with the next month set to be dominated by football.
Unfortunately, given the realities of modern sport, it will also be dominated by men, with women significantly underrepresented.
This may seem obvious, with the contest seeing 32 MEN’S national teams compete, but it’s not just on the playing field where women are absent – it’s in the coaching seats, the presenting panel and the commentating box.
Thankfully, this year is seeing a serious improvement for equality.
Meet Vicki Sparks, the first female World Cup commentator.
That’s right. When the broadcaster voiced BBC One‘s coverage of the Portugal v Morocco game in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium this week, she made history.
We know what you’re thinking – it’s about time – but let’s not let that overshadow Vicki’s achievement and success in breaking the glass ceiling for women in sport.
And she’s not alone, with female representation at the World Cup only growing, thanks to Gabby Logan, BBC‘s reporter, Jacqui Oatley who is presenting for ITV, and Eniola Aluko and Alex Scott both in the studio.
The reaction? Overwhelmingly positive.
‘Loving Vicki Sparks’ commentary on the @BBC #WorldCup It’s about time we had a female commentator! She sounds like she was born for the role,’ tweeted Rio Overton.
‘As a kid I used to turn off the sound on games and try to commentate,’ agreed Twitter user, Sien. ‘Hearing Vicki Sparks on the BBC rn makes me so excited for all the little girls who get to hear a female voice doing just that.’
Unfortunately, with progress there are always going to be naysayers, and this was proven as some trolls took to Instagram, with one calling for women to leave football to the men.
‘Why oh why must we have women commentating on football??’ tweeted one user. ‘Please someone tell Vicki Sparks she is trying too hard, I enjoy football but please girls leave it to the men!!’
Will that stop her? Absolutely not.
Go on Vicki, we’re with you!