“[…] 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.
“[…] 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 following letter was submitted to Guyana Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Charles Ramson Jr and First Lady Arya Ali by Guyana Senior Women’s National Football Team players Brittany Persaud, Caleigh Copland, Chante Sandiford, Hannah Baptiste, Kayla De Souza, Brianna De Souza, Annalisa Vincent, Brianne Desa, and Tuandi Smith:
As members of the Guyana Women’s National Football Team, […] we are writing to express our frustrations around the unfair and inequitable distribution of resources and supports 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.
A few of these highlights include:
- Guyana’s record setting quarter-final placement at U-20 Concacaf in 2020;
- The highest ranking in the world, male or female, in the Fifa world ranking of #75 in 2018;
- Guyana’s first outing at a Concacaf Olympic qualifier in 2016;
- Guyana’s first outing at a major Concacaf tournament, male or female, in 2010 when the ‘Lady Jags’ qualified and competed at the Women’s Gold Cup
Despite these accomplishments, our Women’s Senior National Team has sat dormant for three years while the Men’s Team continue to play multiple games each year.
Unlike the men’s program, 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 program at the exclusion of the women’s program is wrong and must stop. 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 program since 2009.
We are united in our call for equal and fair treatment. We want to thank you for taking the time to hear our concerns and would like to request a meeting with you.
In fact, this issue was first raised by sports journalist Rawle Toney, who has been covering [our] progression around the world from the inception. He has been the singular voice in trying to bring some resolution and it was through his suggestion for us to bring this situation to your attention that we write.
[…] We look forward to developing equality within football which will foster and nurture the next generation of female leaders across Guyana and the Caribbean.
PS: Please feel free to engage Mr Toney for any clarification on our profound success and for his candid and unbiased opinion of the treatment of women’s football.
We believe that this issue is bigger than the Guyana Football Federation and we’re in urgent need of your intervention.
Editor’s Note: The Guyana Football Federation’s pay structure for its men’s players in the 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign is understood to be:
Match fee: US$350 (starter), US$250 (substitute appearance), US$150 (unused substitute);
Per diem for first four days: US$50;
Win bonus (payable to entire squad): US$100;
Goal bonus (payable to entire squad): US$25 per goal up to maximum of four goals.