Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Emma Hayes won the Women’s FA Cup with Chelsea in 2016
Women’s football is often criticised for its lack of parity with men’s football, but Chelsea’s coach Emma Hayes believes the women’s game has moved a long way in recent years.
“We’re on a par with the men now,” she said.
“For too long the attitude has been to put women’s football down and say it’s not worth it.
Hayes, 45, won the FA Cup with Chelsea in 2016 and the Women’s Champions League with German champions Wolfsburg last season.
She also coached the Lionesses at the 2010 World Cup – where England beat Spain in the quarter-finals – and in the European Championship in Sweden two years later.
“I think we’re seeing change now,” Hayes told BBC Radio 5 live’s Lynda Broughton Show.
“It’s inevitable, but it can still feel like a prison – your passport isn’t accepted in public – but thankfully the government is looking at what it can do.
“When you look at it on the field, we’re seeing quality football all the time, from Norway and Sweden to Nigeria and England.”
‘I still get told that women shouldn’t play football’
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Lotta Schelin (right) won the FA Cup with Chelsea last season
Sweden’s top-ranked players also wear their hair in afro styles and change out of their regulation socks after warm-ups to allow a hug with their team-mates.
But Hayes thinks the negative stereotypes about women’s football need to change, particularly in England.
“I still get told that women shouldn’t play football,” she said.
“Some girls don’t think they should be out on a pitch – it’s OK to be scared, but it’s nice to know that you’re doing something that’s your game and you’re giving your all.
“I was taught by my mother and grandmother that if it’s your dream, if you want to do something, do it.”
BBC Radio 5 live’s Lynda Broughton Show airs on Saturday 21 September at 10:30 GMT on BBC Radio 5 live.
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