West Bromwich Albion Women players will now wear navy instead of their original white shorts, due to period anxieties that negatively affect performance.
Bloating. Irritability. Cramps.
For many that have periods, these are frequent side effects that could occur on a game day, whether that’s when waking up or in the last 5 minutes. It’s not just these physical feelings, but also the impracticality of wearing white with the risk of leaking becoming prominent. This is why this is such a positive step forwards for the Women’s game.
Hannah George, West Brom skipper, expressed her support to Sky Sports over this decision, as believes that this change will help her team to “focus on their performance without added concerns or anxiety”.
Head coach, Jenny Sugarman, added that this is “another sign of the continued integration of the Women’s team across the club and recognition of a progressive and inclusive culture”.
Progression and inclusion.
Not only is this change one that practically improves a players performance, as can centre their mind on the game, but it will constantly normalise an issue that is still a taboo for many in society.
England stars have also spoken to Nike about this prevalent issue.
During the 2022 Euro campaign, player of the tournament Beth Mead spoke up about her concerns with menstruating whilst playing, in which she hopes that the short colour will be changed. Attention may go to the kit colour ahead of Friday’s home game at Wembley Stadium, if not the World Cup next summer.
Although teammate Georgia Stanway agrees with this, she also makes the valid point that “it’s difficult, because we associate England with white”, therefore by straying away from tradition will a change in the Lionesses kit be rejected by many spectators?
So far West Brom’s adaptation to their attire has been received positively across many social media platforms, with Instagram being a great aid to get this message out.
It’s not just in football that women have demanded more comfortability whilst competing, but across many sports. Heather Watson has spoken about her experience as a tennis player at Wimbledon, as agrees with the tradition of wearing all white but has to schedule her “period around it”.
The difficulty in being able to perform at the individual's optimal level has further been reiterated by athlete Dean Asher-Smith, as there’s a lack of research into the effects which needs to change. This was highlighted in her career when she had to pull out of a race due to one of the common side effects of menstruating being cramps.
With hopes that other football teams and sports can adopt this “progressive and inclusive culture” created at West Brom, the future for the Women’s game becomes ever more exciting.