BBC’s Jacqui Oatley Unfazed at Breaking Barriers
This week, we’ve looked at the addition of the Womens’ Pro Soccer Commissioner to the US Soccer Board of Directors and at the first female referee in the Football League.
And now we have come across a fantastic interview with Jacqui Oatley on a new, interesting blog, Between the Lines: Oatley is a female pioneer in the traditionally male world of football commentary.
We recommend you check the whole thing out, but what comes across as most interesting is that despite the Facebook groups set-up to complain about a female voice appearing on Match of the Day (“Make MOTD female free….f**k off Jacqui Oatley” — 681 members), Oatley seems unfazed by all the fuss.
She simply rose through the ranks like any other commentator: cutting her teeth in hospital radio, chancing on a gig doing non-league games, moving on to Radio Five Live, and then progressing to Premier League clips on Match of the Day.
The interview presents her as unflappable and unbothered by the attention of her unique rise; she suggests many female journalists she knows would much rather not get all the attention she does by appearing on MOTD:
The most important thing is that I don’t know anybody who’s ever wanted to do it. It’s not like I’ve come through the last few years and found all these women desperate to commentate but not getting a chance. I’ve never seen that. All the female reporters I know can’t think of anything they would like to do less than commentate on Match of the Day. You’re putting yourself up there to be shot at and that’s not something people naturally want to do.
Soon enough, perhaps it won’t seem so unnatural at all, thanks in part to Jacqui herself.