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International Women's Day

'There's progress, but still room for improvement'

8 Mar 2023

Brentford's Lorna Falconer and Monique Choudhuri discuss opportunities for women working in football and the value of allyship

This International Women's Day, we hear from inspiring female fans and women working in football to see how the Premier League and our clubs are working to promote gender equality in the game.


Progress has been made in terms of women participating in all areas of football, but there remains plenty of room for improvement.

That is the opinion of two women who are key staff at Brentford.

Both Monique Choudhuri and Lorna Falconer have taken very different career paths to their respective current roles as non-executive director and head of football operations at the west London club.

However, while acknowledging that there are now more opportunities for women to work in football, they share the same awareness of the obstacles faced in reaching senior level positions.

"Football is now a place women can go to," says Choudhuri, whose background spans nearly three decades working in strategic and leadership consultancy, inclusive leadership people development and EDI consultancy.

"You look at the men's game and I think there's a lot more opportunity for women at the junior level, at entry level and at middle level. We've still got a bit of work to do in leadership to get more women at the top table, at senior level."

Falconer, who got her first role in football after writing to former Tottenham Hotspur chairman Alan Sugar, as she felt unfulfilled working in insurance, is one of the few black women in a senior position at a professional men's club.

Allyship is vital

The importance of allies in her journey has been crucial.

"Allyship helped me get to where I am," says Falconer. "I've still got those allies in my life today. They're good friends of mine, they're good people, but at Brentford we've got such a good, strong male and female leadership group.

"International Women's Day has always been about celebration; being able to highlight now what our leadership team are doing, the board, our recruitment team - they're actively encouraging women to apply for roles that wouldn't normally be for women."

Working for Brentford is a source of pride for both as the club have recently been awarded the preliminary level of the Premier League Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Standard (PLEDIS). This standard, Choudhuri says, provides a framework for Brentford to track their progress and aim higher.

"To achieve PLEDIS, it says that we manage our data well; it says we are looking at the right ways to be inclusive in our organisation," Choudhuri says. "It shows we are focusing on the right things.

"It gives us an opportunity still to be creative and aspirational and making sure we put inclusivity at the heart of everything we do." 

Also in this series

Part 2: 'Everton means every single emotion I have experienced'
Part 3: 'Those who bullied me now admit they were ignorant'
Part 4: 'Allyship helps change perceptions of women's roles'
Part 5: Premier League clubs celebrate International Women's Day

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