Purple is a colour that has many connotations. It is the colour of royalty, nobility, and dignity. It is the colour of the suffragette movement, the fight for women’s rights, and the symbol of International Women’s Day.
Now, it is the colour of a new campaign by women’s footballers to demand fair treatment, respect, and equality in their sport.
During this FIFA international window, women’s national football team players will wear purple wristbands “in a show of collective solidarity and desire for positive change”, according to FIFPro, the union representing professional footballers.
The campaign was initiated by the Canada Women’s Soccer Team, who wore purple wristbands and T-shirts with the words “Enough is Enough” during the SheBelieves Cup in February in the U.S. The Canadians are embroiled in a labour dispute with their federation over pay and working conditions, which they say are inferior to those of their male counterparts.
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They also allege gender-based violence and systemic inequality, and have filed a human rights complaint against Canada Soccer. They chose purple as a symbol of equality, and to raise awareness of their plight and that of other women’s footballers around the world.
Their gesture was supported by the other teams at the SheBelieves Cup, as well as Canada coach Bev Priestman. And now, FIFPro has confirmed that women’s teams will continue to wear the purple wristbands during the upcoming international break.
FIFPro said in a statement: “Too often, women’s football players are having to sacrifice or risk parts of their careers to effect necessary change – even though this change centres on basic and fundamental rights such as fair treatment, respect, and equality.”
The union also acknowledged that progress “at the highest level” has been made recently, with FIFA announcing that it is aiming for full equality for the 2027 Women’s World Cup. This would mean equal prize money, equal funding, equal standards, and equal opportunities for women’s football.
“With this commitment ready to be enshrined, FIFPro and member unions will continue to push for and support progress towards equitable conditions at national level for players around the world,” FIFPro said.
The purple wristband campaign is not just a show of support for Canada, but also a way of highlighting the wider issues that women’s footballers face around the world. Too often, they have to sacrifice or risk parts of their careers to effect necessary change – even though this change centres on basic and fundamental rights.