Toni Duggan was born in Liverpool and plays as a professional footballer for Everton in the FA Women’s Super League, the English league. But she is not news for being part of the english team since 2012, nor for having played for Atlético de Madrid. Not even for playing extreme or being one of the best in the world. It is news for being The first footballer to take maternity leave in England’s Women’s Super League.
Just a month and a half ago, on September 27, Duggan announced her pregnancy and explained that this decision was not easy. So much so that he was afraid. not for the pregnancy itself, which could scare us all, but because of the fact that being a mother in the world of football does not guarantee your rights. Until now.
Toni Duggan, the first footballer to have a real maternity leave
“I had to tell the club that I was pregnant before my mother did”, told The Times magazine. He found out in the preseason, and the high physical demand of his work forced him to let the club’s doctor know even before his family.
To date, there was no maternity leave in football as we know it in other jobs. FIFA proposed in 2020 a maternity leave that would ensure the salary of soccer players as in other jobs, but it was not until 2022 when the law came into force and Toni Duggan will be the first to receive 100% of her weekly salary and keep benefits during her maternity leave. Until then, the agreement or not was outside the law and it was only the club’s decision.
The rights of women in this sport, hard in itself for the female gender and in which women like Alexia Putellas continue to fight against machismothey had not been contemplated. Katie Chapman, for example, a Chelsea player, has had three children without any legal or financial support during her career despite the fact that her name has been linked to that of big clubs like Arsenal. She actually trained for up to two weeks before giving birth and six weeks after the birth she was back on the field.
Duggan herself stated that there is a lack of necessary tools not only to know how to proceed but also to feel that pregnancy is normalized as in any other profession. If the player gives everything on the field, it is normal for her to feel accompanied during this period of her life as well, and this small step is the first of many that must be taken in the football feminine.
Photos | instagram @toniduggan
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