Leah Williamson: Euro 2022 ‘will change women’s place in society around the world’

·3-min read
Leah Williamson: Euro 2022 ‘will change women’s place in society around the world’

England captain Leah Williamson believes the Lionesses have begun to change the way society views women through their run to the final of Euro 2022.

The Lionesses have captured the hearts of the country through their run to the final of this home Euros, which will take place on Sunday against Germany at Wembley.

England have played in front of sell-out crowds for all their games, while millions have watched on television around the country.

Williamson believes the Lionesses run has had a wider impact than football and it has actually impacted how society views women.

“I think what we’ve seen in the tournament already is that this hasn’t just been a change for women’s football, but society in general, how we’re looked upon,” said Williamson.

 (PA)
(PA)

“I think tomorrow is not the end of a journey, but the start of one. And I think, regardless of the end result of that game, there will be a nice moment for reflection.

“Naturally it’s my job to go out for 90 minutes, to play, and win, but I think, when we look back on this tournament as a whole, we’ve really started something.

“As I say, I think tomorrow is the start of that. I want it to be the start. I want this to be a mark for the future, not looking back on what’s come before.

“I’ve only ever been involved in this workplace, in football, but I think in most workplaces across the world, women still have a few more battles to face and to try overcome.

“I think that for every success that we make, for every change of judgement or perception or opening the eyes of somebody who views women as somebody with the potential to be equal to her male counterpart, I think that makes change in society.

“I think that’s a powerful message that we have the power to, in a typically male-dominated environment, these strides that we take forward can impact everybody on that wider scale.”

If England beat Germany in the final it will be the first time in the Lionesses' history that they have won a major trophy.

Germany, in contrast, boast a formidable trophy haul and of the 12 Euros so far, they have won eight of them.

England and Germany have a strong, historic rivalry, but Williamson is not letting it impact how she prepares.

“I think it’s a good narrative for you guys [in the media],” said Williamson.

“Obviously it’s a fairytale fixture with the history behind it. But I think for us, you would never expect to get to a final without playing the best team in the tournament and, in terms of I think the journey that we’ve both been on, you’ve got the two best teams that have had the best tournaments in the final, which is the best thing.

“This is what we expected, to come up against a team playing their best football and luckily we are playing our’s.”

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