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International Women's Day

'Those who bullied me now admit they were ignorant'

8 Mar 2023

Premier League pundit Karen Carney speaks about the obstacles she overcame as a young player

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.

'I was bullied for playing football'

There was a time when women's football was not as appreciated or accessible as it is today.

Indeed, it was looked down upon by many and opportunities for girls and women to play were limited.

That was the experience of Premier League pundit Karen Carney, who has discussed the barriers she had to overcome as a young girl before becoming an England international.

"I got very much bullied for it at primary school," she says. "At secondary school I never played football really, just because I was bullied for it.

"It's really funny now. The people that bullied me have since gone on and apologised and said, 'Wow, we were quite ignorant'.

"Since then, they've had their own children and come back and say, 'Our kids watch you', and that's young boys and girls they have.

"It's been a big shift. With the role models, especially with the Lionesses, it's opened everybody's eyes and now hopefully more girls will have the opportunity to play."

Also in this series

Part 1: 'There's progress, but still room for improvement'
Part 2: 'Everton means every single emotion I have experienced'
Part 4: 'Allyship helps change perceptions of women's roles'
Part 5: Premier League clubs celebrate International Women's Day

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