QPR academy coach Manisha Tailor says there still needs to be “radical change” in the amount of black and ethnic minority coaches appointed in the professional game.
Tailor, an Indian, is the only South Asian female coach in men’s football, having joined the London club in 2016 after previously being a school headteacher.
She is working on her UEFA A license in a bid to progress through the levels but she is concerned about the lack of any contemporaries, despite an overall increase in the number of black and ethnic minority coaches.
“I don’t think it’s increasing quick enough. I think that there still needs to be some radical change,” she said in The Game Changers podcast, supported by Barclays.
“I feel what is helping and is positive is the fact that there are organisations who recognise there is a need to redress the balance, and they’d been held to account for that.
“So I think that there needs to be greater accountability for organisations, particularly when it comes to recruitment.
“So like the quality codes, the race code needs to be mandatory. We want to get to a place where actually we don’t have programmes and initiatives. We want to get to that. But while we are quite far away from that, I think that there has to be greater accountability.
“We need to continue to have people of influence and prominent figures using their voices and their platform and advocates in that these things are wrong and unjust. And I think that decision makers need to be more open when it comes to recruitment processes.
“I think that it’s changing for the better, but if I think about what it was like for me four-and-a-half years ago – when I first came into the professional game – it’s still very under-represented in, in gender and ethnicity.
“I met a club that embraces diversity and inclusion and the best people for the job will get the job regardless of any protected.
“But that still came with its challenges because we are navigating our way as women and as women from minority backgrounds in, in a culture that has done things in a certain way for a long amount of time, the decision makers who allow people like myself in these environments are still predominantly white male.”
Tailor chronicled a challenging experience in playing youth football partly down to the fact that she had few visible role models.
That remains a problem for Tailor, who is desperate for more visibility.
“We still see very few South Asian female role models in the elite part of the game,” she added. “There are a few, which is great. There are now many others too, you know, who play like the National League, in the Championship, which is great.
“And I believe there are two or three in the England women’s pathway, not in the first team but in the development squad, you know, which is brilliant, but because they’re so few the visibility isn’t there for parents – it’s still a case of, ‘is it feasible’?
“Is it just a case of, ‘OK, if you have it as a hobby and a passion, but not so much a professional career, are there opportunities’?
“So what I can see is that because of the greater pathways, and there are community groups and organisations who are doing a lot of work around visibility alongside County FAs and governing bodies that are doing a lot around inclusion, particularly the inclusion of South Asian communities within the game, that’s going to help.
“Because what we are seeing is, certainly in the male game, that there are a lot more male footballers from those communities now who are playing at a good level because the women’s game was always behind in terms of opportunities in comparison to the male game.
“I do believe we will see change but we’re going to only see change if we have greater visibility.”
:: Hosted by Sue Anstiss MBE on The Game Changers podcast. The Game Changers is supported by Sport England and is available across all platforms. For more information visit fearlesswomen.co.uk