Albion's director gives her thoughts on the day and the progress being made at the club.
“That shows we’re doing some really good stuff in terms of equality within the workplace. But at the same time, it’s important we stay at the cutting edge of thinking of ways on how we can support both men and women to have a good work-life balance.”
“Interestingly, one of the members of the club's HR team undertook a piece of research as part of her post-graduate training. One of the outcomes suggested that compared to working in sport in general the women who worked at our club felt as valued and respected as their male colleagues.
“Therefore, working in sport is not always seen as being conducive for women who are trying to support a family at the same time. That can be an issue in terms of attracting talent.”
“A lot of the research undertaken to date suggests that there’s a perception around sport in general that it is not a particularly family-friendly industry compared to many others. There are long hours, which are often anti-social and go into the evenings and weekends.
“We do a lot at the club, as do Albion in the Community, in terms of women’s and girls' football and development. A very clear statement of support has been made towards women’s and girls’ football.
She said: “International Women’s Day is very important from a few perspectives. It’s important to celebrate women’s achievements in the world, whether it’s sporting, social, political or cultural. I also think it’s important to raise awareness of continued areas of struggle for women’s and girls’ rights.
Walder was appointed as the first female member of the board in July last year, and has overseen a number of wide-ranging responsibilities at the club in her roles as chair of the club’s new women’s football subsidiary and the club’s HR committee as well as a main board member.
Brighton & Hove Albion director Michelle Walder believes the club has a lot to be proud of in recognition of International Women’s Day today, but remained guarded against complacency and feels that plenty of work can still be done.
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Michelle also expressed the amount of enjoyment she has had in her role as director, and feels the sporting industry is gradually becoming more inclusive.
“This is even more of a community and family-orientated club than I thought it was going to be. It’s been even more welcoming than I thought. I had high expectations beforehand, but on the inside you feel like you’re part of the family and that’s a real joy.
“I feel really honoured about that and as a new person coming in, I couldn’t ask for a better welcome. In terms of the role, I think it’s been broadly what I expected it to be, and is even more fun than I thought it would be.
“I never thought it would be so rewarding to work with all the different areas of the club, with the women’s team and the connections to Albion in the Community. It’s been really enjoyable.”
“The game is moving in the right direction. We want to be as inclusive in as many areas as possible, but we know that there is still plenty of work to be done.”