Alex Scott says she will continue as a football presenter, despite receiving death threats and misogynistic remarks.
The former Arsenal and England star, who will be on the panel of pundits commentating for the BBC during the upcoming Women’s European Championship, says she feels it is her “responsibility to change perceptions”.
Hosts England are among the favourites to win the tournament, which begins on 6 July and runs until the end of the month.
In an interview with Radio Times, Alex said that the transition from football star to TV pundit has not been easy.
She has faced push back, including from former Labour minister and ex-House of Lords member Digby Jones last year, who criticised her pronunciation and asked if someone could give her elocution lessons.
The TV presenter said she told the BBC’s director of sport, Barbara Slater, that she “didn’t want to be taken off air because then who wins?”
She added: “I’ve had so many tweets saying I should be at home ironing or cooking.
“I don’t care about those, but sometimes people threaten my life and those have to be taken seriously.
“It’s my responsibility to change perceptions by sitting in that chair and talking about football.”
The female England squad will be led by Dutch manager Sarina Wiegman, who won the Women’s Euros with the Netherlands in 2017.
England’s first test will come on the opening night as they face Austria at Old Trafford.
Female football has steadily become more popular over the years, with more women and girls picking up the sport, according to the Football Association.
Alex noted the game’s growth has had its downsides and feels diversity within the teams needs to be addressed.
She said concrete pitches in council estate areas “aren’t as important anymore” as “academies have appeared that are maybe two hours away, and an inner-city street kid doesn’t have the financial means to access them”.
“One of the girls I’m mentoring said that when she looks at the England team she doesn’t see herself represented… That needs to be addressed,” she said.
Gabby Logan, who is leading the BBC’s TV coverage of the tournament, hopes it will continue to inspire young girls to pick up the sport.
She said: “Spain might be the bookies’ favourites, but some of the England squad have been treated like professionals since they were in their teens and so, yes, it feels like a good time.
“I’m going to say it: England can win, and then a whole generation of young girls will be inspired to play football.”
Read the full interview in the Radio Times, out now.