A pertinent new film calls for support: a captivating story tackling gender inequality in football

Written and performed by former-Norwich local Ella Dorman-Gajic, Back of the Net is a gripping short film exploring the journey of a passionate young footballer called Maya, who is torn between her dreams of and her care responsibilities to her grandmother, who was once a footballer herself.

The film was influenced by the Women’s Football Euros last year and the Lionesses’ victorious win. In research for the film, Dorman-Gajic spoke to female football players at Lewes WFC, who are the only team to pay their male and female players equally. The film has also received endorsement from Kings Lynn FC. The team have launched a crowdfunder, where you can donate to support the film, and claim exclusive rewards, including football tickets to Kings Lynn FC, 1:1 training sessions, scriptwriting classes, an executive producer credit, and the chance to go on-set.

Even though women have been playing football since the 19th century, only very recently has female football garnered significant attention in mainstream media. It was only in 1971 when the FA lifted the ban on women’s football, who previously stated in 1921 that “…the game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged”. There still remain schools and communities that fail to teach football to girls – with just 44% of secondary schools teaching girls same lessons as boys.  In addition, women’s opportunities to play in professional leagues are far fewer than their male counterparts. But it’s not just access to football that needs to be addressed – Women’s Super League players earn £47,000 a year on average, while the average wage of a Premier League player is £60,000 – a week (BBC). 

gender inequality in football. Back of the Net tackles the inequalities faced by women in the sport

Back of the Net tackles the inequalities faced by women in the sport through the characters of Maya and her grandmother Maggie, who was once a celebrated footballer in the 1970s, despite never having made a living out of it. Although Maggie was the person to teach Maya football, her dementia means that her memory of that part of her life is fading. On top of this, Maya’s strict training regime make it harder for her to take care of her grandmother, putting at risk a rare opportunity to get scouted for one of England’s top female teams. The story calls into question the pressure put on girls to fulfil care responsibilities, and the lack of recognition young women in football get, both historically and in today’s modern society.

With the Women’s World Cup on the horizon, starting in July 2023, the time to make this film is now. But although this is widely regarded as the biggest sporting event of the year, there has been a clear lack of media attention surrounding it. Now, this is your chance to make an impact on a new piece of work championing women in football. The team have already been featured on BBC Radio Norfolk, and gained support from the Soroptomists, an organisation campaigning for gender equality. However, they are still striving to meet their funding goal, so any donation will have a big impact. 

A word from the director, Klara Kaliger: 

“I want to make this film because it’s a creative challenge for me as a director, but above all because I believe it has something important and urgent to say about the world. It’s incredibly universal and specific at the same time… Football is an enormous industry and one of the most popular modern-day forms of entertainment, yet it remains so deeply and harmfully gendered. With the World Cup approaching, now is the time to tell this important story and help create more conversation.” 

The crowdfunding campaign runs until 1st July at 11.59pm. Visit this Indiegogo page to get your name in a film addressing an important issue, and to claim exclusive rewards. 

Gender inequality in football. Back of the Net tackles the inequalities faced by women in the sport

Donate to support an independent film championing women in football. 

Ella Dorman-Gajic


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