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On Women, Women's Football and Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin

posted 6 Dec 2016, 15:02 by Mark Pinchin   [ updated 7 Dec 2016, 06:01 by tjohnson@bexleyheathacademy.org ]

When I first began teaching as a Primary School teacher several years ago now near Croydon I was given the task by Mr Wringe my Headteacher of refereeing all the football matches and running our football team. Our boys were trained by Crystal Palace and we won the Surrey Cup three Years in a row.


A pleasure? You must be joking. The boys were OK..but some of their parents were horrific as they lived out their failed dreams through their children. Screaming abuse from the touchline only I and Brian Istead a local Policeman were willing to referee as everyone else had given up a long time ago! We were both boxers and played town rugby so could handle ourselves and yet I had to abandon several matches due to the florid gesticulations and language coming thick and fast from the touchline.'



"You callin' my boy offside? He can't be offside..he aint interferin' with play!!"

'Er no but he is leaning against the goalpost in the goalmouth eating a yorkie bar ...where he has been for the last 5 minutes waiting to toe a ball in!'

Nightmare! Never again! Prefer the honest sweat of the gym!

And then like a shard of light and wonderful brilliance some girls asked if I would run a girl's football team! Oh the joy! Finally I had found all the skill and wonder that football could be! It was as Brian Clough would have said 'The beautiful game' without the posturing, language and aggression which was a hallmark of boys football around Croydon in those days. The play flowed, technique was dazzling! I was sold! Converted! I have been a massive champion of girls football ever since!


But what really incensed me was that my lovely team of willing players were unable to be recognised or participate in the local league for the local cups and trophies. And why? For one reason only; they were girls. All our matches had to be 'friendlies'. The injustice and stupidity and narrow mindedness  of this lives with me even to this day. I feel annoyed writing about it now.



And of course the great film Gregory's Girl championed women and women's football where Dorothy literally bounced the boys around like a ball. What a refreshing film that was where male sexist stereotypes were brilliantly challenged  and ridiculed through humour! And it is not innocent as men who constantly look women up and down claim..'just looking at the menu......no harm in that is there?' Well yes in fact there is...it is coarse,lewd and degrading and my job as a Headteacher is to educate and challenge this type of behaviour which is dull, insulting, boorish, and an affront to decent men and women everywhere.


Women have had to battle long and hard to combat this nonsense and achieve equal rights in so many areas of society. For me one of the great injustices was in Grammar school selection in the 1950's and 1960's where so many more boys than girls went to grammar school when we know that developmentally this is impossible. The scandal of manipulating the data was exposed and there was a National outcry. And rightly so.

Everyone has heard of Alexander Fleming and yet how many people have heard of the great and brilliant chemist who taught Margaret Thatcher at Oxford;another Dorothy...Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin from Beccles in Suffolk who had to fight the system to study chemistry at school when girls were forced to study domestic science. But fight she did and discovered the molecular structure of penicillin which enabled its mass production to help people all over the planet. She won a Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1964 and was a member of the Pugwash Society which meant her knowledge could only be used for good. Every girl everywhere should see Dorothy as a shining example of a girl and woman who smashed the constraints and expectations of her because she was a woman. Politics aside the same could be said of her pupil Margaret Thatcher. The two women corresponded all their lives. Dorothy has been featured on two issues of postage stamps. She died in 1994 aged 84 years and is an inspiration to honourable, hard working men and women everywhere.

Mark Pinchin

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Mark Pinchin,
6 Dec 2016, 15:02
ą
Mark Pinchin,
6 Dec 2016, 15:02
ą
Mark Pinchin,
6 Dec 2016, 15:02
ą
Mark Pinchin,
6 Dec 2016, 15:02
ą
Mark Pinchin,
6 Dec 2016, 15:02
ą
Mark Pinchin,
6 Dec 2016, 15:02
ą
Mark Pinchin,
6 Dec 2016, 15:02
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