For the first time in the club’s history, Barcelona has sent their men’s and women’s teams on a joint tour to the US. Wait, is that the faint whiff of equality you can smell in the air?
Don’t be absurd, that’s just the smell of the patriarchy loosening its tie in the heat.
Because, while the club insisted the US tour was part of its “commitment to women's football", the seating arrangements would suggest otherwise.
The club posted a glossy video of the male and female teams hanging out in the airport and posing for photographs together in the business-class section of the plane, and then, the women just… disappear, as a series of men give the camera a thumbs up while they lounge around in their business-class seats.
“But where were the women?” you ask. But you already know the answer. It’s as predictable as Serena Williams being asked sexist questions at Wimbledon. Or male commentators calling a 17-year-old Olympic athlete a “little hot piece of ass”. Barcelona’s women’s team were where female athletes have always been: shoved to the back.
If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, then surely the road to equality is paved with women trying to make the best of a bad situation
A fan-run Twitter account supporting Barcelona’s women’s team tweeted their criticism of the club’s actions:
Of course, there are only a limited number of business-class seats available on a plane, and Spanish media are reporting that the women were given two to three seats each in economy. But, as @BarcaWomen points out, their decision to give business-class seats to Barça B men's players over the female players undermines their commitment to promoting women in sport.
One of the players in the women’s team, Alexia Putellas, argued that the club was definitely making progress in how it treated its women’s team. Not so long ago, she told a newspaper, they would have had to make any long journey by bus. If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, then surely the road to equality is paved with women trying to make the best of a bad situation.
Women in sports are too often still treated as an afterthought, rather than the main event. But this year, for the first time in history, the women’s Wimbledon final was watched by more people than the men’s. Women have had enough of taking the back seat to men’s sports. And Barcelona FC has confirmed that, from now on, the women are flying up front.