International Women's Day: Media need to support women's football - White
- 8 March 2013
- From the section Student reports
As a player for Team GB, England and Arsenal Ladies, Ellen White is riding high at the peak of her career. In 2011 she was even voted England's women's Player of the Year!
The 23-year-old spoke to School Report about the future for the women's game, beating the men's teams and, of course, Lady Gaga's prospects as a football player…
Q: How did you get into football?
A: My family are all very enthusiastic about football. My mum and dad are big fans and my brother used to play football so I started off by watching him. My whole family love it!
Q: Could you describe a day in the life of an England/Arsenal player?
A: I get up early at around 6 or 7 am, have breakfast and do some weight training. Then I head off to work. After that I go to Arsenal's training centre and practise there with the other players. Sometimes I go into schools to set up festivals and do workshops. I train again in the evening and get home around 7pm. It's long day but it's a lot of fun.
Q: Some people feel that the differences, such as pay, between female and male footballers are unfair. If you could change something about women's football, what would it be?
A: I think that the issue with pay gets blown out of proportion. There are differences but I think the reason for that is the amount of fans. For the men, they have thousands of fans all paying to watch them play football so their salary is bigger.
If I could change something about women's football it would be to try to get more people coming to games and to be on TV more. That is starting to change because of London 2012 and also the BBC is showing the Euros in the summer, which is really great!
Q: Which football team do you fear most in the upcoming European Championships?
A: There are lots of quality teams such as Italy, Russia and France. I don't know if we fear them, but the French team are very strong. They have great chemistry; they train week in, week out. Russia has beaten us a couple of times, so we need to watch out for them, and Germany is also a really good side.
Q: If you were to play against the Arsenal men's team, what kind of match would it be and who would win?
A: Obviously we would win! Actually we would probably all be too scared to tackle each other in case we hurt them or they hurt us! I think it would be a draw.
Q: We know that you are a fan of Lady Gaga. What kind of footballer do you think she'd make?
A: I do like Lady Gaga - you've done your research! She would make a pretty crazy footballer but I think she's a bit girly, she might run away instead of tackling someone! She does have fans all over the world on Twitter though, so maybe she could bring lots of people to see us!
Q: You have a job that some people might consider unusual for a woman. What advice would you give to women trying to be successful in a traditionally male dominated field?
A: That's a good question. Times have changed. In the past a lot of people had opinions about women's football and how exciting it is but things are different now. My main piece of advice would be to just enjoy what you do and have fun. Working in a challenging field has made me change as a person - it really develops you. I wouldn't change my career for the world.
Q: What do you think are the biggest issues to face women's football in the next decade?
A: I think the biggest issue to face women's football in a decade will be the same as it is now which is just trying to get people to our games! Popularity has definitely improved since the World Cup and the Olympics. Perceptions are starting to change, people are beginning to see women's football as genuinely competitive. The men's team might be fitter and stronger but the women's game is very tactical and interesting in that way. We just need to keep plugging it.
Our hope is to get the media to show more of our games and get more people interested in women's football.
Q: As a 'wonder goal scorer,' you are obviously a role model and inspiration to others but who do you look to for inspiration?
A: My family. My mum and dad have taken me all over the country to watch and support me. I have a little niece as well and I want to make her proud. David Beckham is also a good role model, for both his achievements on the pitch and his professionalism off the pitch. The work that he has done with academies and charities is really impressive.