In my view and experience, football breaks down barriers of nations, race, class, age, and well..., gender!
However, in spite of advances over the years, football culture remains very male-chauvinistic, perhaps blocking the complete breakthrough of women's football (I think the main problem with women's football is that it is not as technically good as men's, but it surely could be! Look at Marta!). But also, the attitude of many men block women from actually participating and engaging in football. I must say that some women I know are football-fanatics and experts as much as the next guy (of course not as much as me; but few people are!), and this makes football culture richer.
It is therefore only refreshing when the English Premier league introduces women referees, who surely are as capable, good, our lousy as the next male referee! It is therefore also very deserved when two renown football commentators, Andy Gray and Richard Keys are fired for making demeaning and chauvinist comments on TV about a female referee! What they said is, besides being idiotic nonsense, completely unacceptable, in particular for commentators, who may be football fans, but have a greater responsibility that a normal football fan because they are speaking to the world, and have the great power that comes with that.
In any case, I hope this only contributes to less discrimination, also based on gender!