GUYANA’S senior women’s football team, the Lady Jags, are calling on the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) to treat them the same as the men’s side and yesterday they dispatched a letter to First Lady Arya Ali and Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Charles Ramson Jr to intervene on their behalf.
When Guyana kicked off their campaign to the 2022 FIFA Qatar World Cup, it was disclosed that the Golden Jaguars players received US$350 for ever start, while for substitute appearances players received US$250. Unused substitutes pocketed US$150 and players were given a per diem for their first four days in the Dominican Republic of US$50.
According to GFF, for their win against The Bahamas, each player received US$100. And for their 4-0 win, each player on the team collected US$25 per goal.
While the men’s team are given the aforementioned remuneration and pay, the Lady Jags would have never received anything, though being more successful than the Golden Jaguars on the International stage over the years.
In their letter to Mrs Ali and Minister Ramson, the Lady Jags said they are “writing to express our frustrations around the unfair and inequitable distribution of resources and support provided the female participants in comparison to our male counterparts”. “We feel the impact of years of systemic bias. We have been relegated to second-class citizens because of our gender even though our records and accomplishments are amongst the best across the Caribbean region,” the Lady Jags said in a signed letter by members of the team.
The Ladies highlighted that they reached the quarter-final at U-20 CONCACAF in 2020, achieved the highest ranking in the world, male or female, in the FIFA world ranking of #75 in 2018, and had Guyana’s first outing at a CONCACAF Olympic Qualifier in 2016. In 2010, Guyana’s first outing at a major CONCACAF Tournament, male or female, was when the Lady Jags qualified and competed at the Women’s Gold Cup. “Despite these accomplishments, our Women’ Senior National Team have sat dormant for three years while the men’s team continue to play
multiple games each year,” the women stated.
They told First Lady and Minister Ramson that “unlike the men’s programme our coaches and staff are volunteers and our players receive no funding to offset the costs of national team participation. Families and players must make financial contributions so that we can have an opportunity to play.
“Imagine how disheartening it is to hear the men get paid for matches in addition to not having to buy their own practice kits or pay for their own practice fields. The financial support to the men’s programme at the exclusion of the women’s programme is wrong and must stop,” the Lady Jags said.
They noted that “every member of our team has sacrificed to help drive the goal of elevating the role of women in the sport of football across Guyana. We are happy to serve as role models, but the burden should not be ours alone to bear ….many of the women who have signed this letter have been with the programme since 2009. We are united in our call for equal and fair treatment”. The Lady Jags players said they’re looking to develop equality within football which will foster and nurture the next generation of female leaders across Guyana and the Caribbean.