Japan’s women soccer team are not only up against other contenders for the Olympics in London but deep-seated gender attitudes back home as well, Wall Street Journal reports.
Despite winning the World Cup that could’ve put the women on a pedestal – or seated them in business class, they were squeezed into economy seats while the ‘less successful’ men had all the comforts on the 12-hour flight from Tokyo to Paris. They were upgraded to 20% extra leg room in economy premium for consolation.
The Japan Football Association told Asahi Shimbun that all Olympic-bound athletes were given economy class tickets, and that it is the discretion of each sport association to upgrade the seats. JFA added that the ticket class distinction has been this way for a long time: the men ride in business class while the women remained in coach.
What does the class distinction really imply? Women’s football in Japan receives little support and is considered a semi-professional league. The president of JFA said that he would, however, upgrade the women’s seats if they win the Olympic gold.