A public apology and appropriate action from Hong Kong Football Association and Pau Ka-yiu

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https://twitter.com/enterchanman/status/1373786588895973379

An open letter to the Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA), 
致香港足球總會(HKFA)的公開信

I am starting this petition to urge immediate and comprehensive action to address the systemic sexism apparent within the HKFA, specifically I call on the HKFA to publicly address and correct the recent comments and actions targeted toward a woman’s place in football. 

I am asking for the Hong Kong Football Association to publicly apologise and take appropriate action for the sexist comments made by Pau Ka-yiu, and I am asking Pau Ka-yiu to do the same. 

My sense of urgency in writing this letter cannot be overstated. As a Women’s Football Division 1 player in Hong Kong, I believe that it is my moral responsibility to show solidarity with all women in sport in Hong Kong, in order to ensure a fair future for ourselves and all women and girls for generations to come. 

For years, women have struggled to be given anywhere near the same respect in sport that men are given. Women in sports are underpaid, undervalued, and underfunded at every level, all over the world. The recent comments only serve to highlight these inequities. 

That being said, it has been a momentous few years for women in sports around the world. We have finally entered an era in which female athletes across sports are standing up, speaking out, and demanding their fair share. It’s impossible to overstate the role sports have played in where women are today. Sports have empowered us and taught us determination. They’ve given us the courage to take risks and ask for more – from ourselves and others. 

Yet, whilst we female athletes persevere in the eternal fight for our rights, sexism in sport prevails. This week, I, along with many other female athletes in Hong Kong, am left feeling disheartened and weak. The recent comments by Happy Valley men’s and women’s football coach Pau Ka-yiu targeted toward female referee Gigi Law are entirely unacceptable. Whatever Pau Ka-yiu’s opinion on the officiating capabilities of Gigi Law, he does not have the right to decide what is and what isn’t sexism. His comments made on camera were undeniably sexist and offensive. Sexism is any expression (an act, a word, a gesture) based on the idea that someone, most typically a woman, is inferior because of their sex. It is prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination on the basis of sex. Make no mistake, in my 15 years of playing football, I would struggle to tell you how many referees I have come across that have frustrated me or made calls that I didn’t agree with. It is in the nature of competitive sport for this to be incredibly frustrating. Players and coaches alike have all called out officials on their decisions, sometimes fairly, sometimes unfairly, and often people get caught up in the heat of the moment. It happens. Let me tell you what should never happen: someone’s capabilities as a match officiator should never be blamed on their sex, ethnicity, or sexuality. Never. Gigi Law’s refereeing abilities have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that she is a woman. 

One of the HKFA’s missions, as stated on their website, is to “further enhance Hong Kong football development”. The HKFA also states that one of their target goals is to “promote women’s football in Hong Kong”. I am struggling to see how Pau Ka-yiu’s comments align with any of the HKFA’s missions or statements. 

As a footballing association, I urge the FA to ensure that women and girls have equal opportunities to enjoy the benefits of sport through tackling sexism in sport at every level. This includes challenging explicit cases of discrimination and harassment as can be seen in Pau Ka-yiu’s comments, as well as addressing the underlying barriers to equality. I urge you, HKFA, to think about the consequences of this video circulating the internet. Every young girl that will see it, every aspiring female footballer or referee that will hear those words and be discouraged to enter or stay in the game, and every woman who will wait for you to speak out and defend Gigi Law. I urge you to speak up on the right side of this situation. 

It’s time for the disrespect and disregard toward women in sport in Hong Kong to end. It’s time we recognise that a woman deserves her place in sport just as much as a man. It’s time we normalise that women in sport are treated with equality in respect to their ability, their passion, and their dedication, not in respect to their gender identity.

Actions have consequences for women and girls everywhere. For too long, we have let sexism in sport slide and for too long, sporting culture has allowed itself to define and set standards for women. 

To Gigi Law  - I am so sorry. I am so sorry you have been failed here. On behalf of every woman that has ever fought to be treated as equal in sport, I thank you for being brave, and for putting yourself in an arena that has not always been kind to women. I reluctantly say that the challenges we face as women in sport will never stop, but we must keep moving forward. We must keep standing our ground. We must keep being women.

The fight against sexism is not solely a woman’s fight, but a fight for social justice, intergenerational equity, and the viability of future societies that must be taken up by everyone.

It is with these aims in mind, to empower women, that I write to ensure the HKFA does not dissuade the participation of women in football in Hong Kong, and publishes an apology for the sexist comments made. I ask the same of Pau Ka-yiu. I fear that without immediate action, women in Hong Kong will be discouraged from the same benefits their male counterparts enjoy in the world of sport. 


Thank you. 

要求香港足球總會及鮑家耀的公開道歉及適當行動

致香港足球總會(HKFA)的公開信

致香港足球總會(HKFA):

香港足球總會中出現的系統性性別歧視問題一直存在,至今仍未得以解決。我特別敦促足總採取即時及全面的行動,以公開處理上述問題,並針對女性在足球界中的地位的最新評論和行動作出更正。

我要求香港足球總會公開道歉,並對鮑家耀的性別歧視言論採取適當的行動。同時,我亦要求鮑家耀採取相同的行為。

我撰寫這封信的逼切性不容忽視。作為香港女子足球甲組聯賽的球員,我深信與香港所有運動的女性團結一致是我的道德責任,以確保我們及所有後代能得到公平的未來。

多年來,女性一直為獲得與男性幾乎相同的尊重而努力。在世界各地,從事體育運動的女性在各層面均被輕視,報酬過低,獲得的資金亦較為缺乏,最近的評論更突出了這些不平等的現象。

話雖如此,對於全世界從事體育運動的女性來說,這幾年十分重要。我們終於進入了一個時代,各個運動項目的女子運動員都站起來,願意發聲,並要求得到公平的待遇。我們無法誇大運動在現今女性中所扮演的角色,但運動賦予我們力量和決心,使我們勇於承擔風險,向自己和他人提出更多要求。

然而,儘管我們女子運動員堅持不懈地為我們的權利而奮鬥,但運動中的性別歧視依然盛行。本週,我和香港許多其他的女子運動員一樣,感到沮喪,皆因愉園球會的男女子足球教練鮑家耀最近針對女裁判羅碧芝的評論是完全不能接受的,無論鮑家耀對羅碧芝的司職有何意見,他都沒權決定什麼是性別歧視,什麼不是性別歧視,他在鏡頭前的言論無疑是性別歧視並令人反感的。性別歧視是基於某人(通常是女性)因其性別而遜色這一思想的任何表達(可以是一種行為、一個單詞或一種手勢),這是基於對性別的偏見,定型觀念或歧視。在我踢足球的15年生涯中,我很難告訴您我遇到了多少讓我感到沮喪或我不認同其判決的裁判,但這就是競技運動的本質。球員和教練都在要求裁判覆檢判決時,有時是公平的,有時是不公平的,人就常常在當刻變得激動,這事情就發生了,但永遠不會發生的是,將裁判的能力歸咎於他們的性別或種族。羅碧芝的裁判能力與她是女性這一事實完全無關。

正如足總在其網站上所述的使命之一是「進一步促進香港的足球發展」。足總還指出,其目標之一是「促進香港的女子足球」。我正在努力觀察鮑家耀的言論如何與足總的任何使命或聲明保持一致。

作為一個足球協會,我嚴正呼籲足總必須解決各個層面體育運動中的性別歧視問題,以確保所有女性均有平等的機會,享受運動帶來的好處。這包括了在鮑家耀評論中所見的歧視和騷擾的案例,以及解決平等的潛在阻礙。我促請足總仔細及認真地考慮這段視頻在互聯網上傳播的後果,每個看到視頻的年輕女孩,每個有抱負的女子足球運動員或裁判都會聽到這些不鼓勵他們進入或參與比賽的說話,每位女性都等著您站出來,捍衛羅碧芝,我懇請您能在這種情況下勇於發聲。

現在,我們應該結束對香港運動女性的不尊重或無視,我們應認可女性在運動中和男性一樣享有應有的地位,讓我們把性別平等變為常態,使運動中的女性在能力、熱情和奉獻精神上得到平等的對待,不再因性別身份問題而受到歧視。

行動對世界各地的婦女和女孩都會帶來影響。長遠來說,我們能令運動中的性別歧視逐漸消失,讓運動文化為女性重新定義並設定標準。

致羅碧芝:

非常抱歉。對不起,您在這裡失敗了。我要代表每一個曾經在運動中爭取過被平等對待的女性,感謝您的勇敢,讓自己進入一個對女性不總是友善的競技場。我不情願地說,我們作為運動女性所面臨的挑戰是永無休止,但我們必須繼續前進,我們必須堅持自己的立場,我們必須繼續為女性爭取。

反對性別歧視的爭論不僅是女性的鬥爭,更是爭取社會公義,跨代平等,以及每個人都必須承擔的未來社會的狀況。

出於這些目的,為女性帶來力量,我特此撰文至足總,確保其不勸阻女性參與香港足球運動,並對性別歧視發表歉意。我亦要求鮑家耀作出相同的行動。我擔心如果上述持份者不立即採取行動,這將阻礙香港女性享有與男性在體育界得到相同的益處。

謝謝。