How has women’s football changed through time?

The history and current progress of women’s football may be described in terms of struggles and challenges. For decades, as with most sports, a concentration on investment, finances, and publicity to men’s players and teams has been set and in place.

Although, in recent times, a favourable trend for women’s football has seen it earn a greater reputation and viewership. This has an influence not just on football in terms of getting both males and females to a more level playing field, but also on the wider context of gender parity in sports. Whenever support and financing for women’s football are in effect, the notion that anybody may participate and that respect must be given and granted to any group of individuals interested in the sport is sent. We’ll take a closer look at how women’s football has progressed throughout time, as well as what the subsequent stages are for the sport’s future.

History

Women have been practising football much before it became an established sport, much like their male counterparts. Some claim that formal matches have been held in Scotland since the 1790s. Women participating in the sport in its early phases are documented and well-known, which is an intriguing fact given the discrepancy in financing, exposure, and other crucial aspects between both the sexes. Additionally, the first women’s team in Europe was founded in 1894. Nettie Honeyball, an activist, created and began this squad, called the British Ladies’ Football Club. As one of the club’s major players, she would market and seek to increase awareness of the team and get more people interested in supporting the club and the sport of football. Women’s football grew even more prominent and well-known as World War I drew to a close. This was owing to the industry’s strong employment contribution.

However, in terms of challenges and sufferings, the FA Ban, which lasted from 1921 until 1971, prevented women from playing in England. Basically, this prohibition would outlaw women from competing on FA pitches, claiming that it was not fit for women and that males would be more suited to the fields. The success of women’s football at the time, however, was paradoxical, with some matches and occasions drawing crowds of far more than 50,000 people. This ban was only abolished after fifty years, as it had put women’s football at a disadvantage compared to men’s football. The FA issued an apology in 2008 for the restriction on women’s football engagement.

By Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru / The National Library of Wales from Wales/Cymru – Women’s football match Menai Bridge against Penrhos, No restrictions, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48550373

Rehabilitation

Women’s football took a significant step backwards as a result of this prohibition. Following that, a resurgence was achieved, with the formation of numerous new contests and organisations. An instance of this was the English Women’s Football Association in 1969. The 1970 and 71 Ladies World Championships followed suit, with the event held in Rome, Italy, without the participation of FIFA or other prominent and important organisations. Italy was one of the initial nations in the world to debut professional female football players. This allowed for increased exposure, the importation of international players, and a stage of progression for the topic of women’s football as a whole. This eventually led to the formation of the US women’s soccer team in 1985, as well as the WUSA, the first professional women’s football league.

Progression and future steps

Women’s football has grown and increased in involvement and prominence more than it has ever before in the twenty-first century. This development has been fuelled by a number of successful competitions, particularly the Women’s World Cup championships held every 4 years. In addition, extra football teams, organisations, athletes, and widespread support are springing up at a quick rate. However, there is growing concern over poorer salary and salaries for women in comparison to males, as well as under-representation of women’s players and coaches. Hopefully, these hurdles and causes that are preventing the growth of women’s football can be addressed and eliminated in due time.

FIFA Women's World Cup 2019 Final - Alex Morgan and Stefanie van der Gragt.jpg
By Howcheng – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=80380069

The FIFA Women’s World Cup

The inaugural Women’s World Cup was held in 1991 by FIFA. The 2019 event garnered a record-breaking number of viewers, with over 200 stations offering games prime-time slots. It is anticipated that one billion people watched the tournament this year. You can even find markets on women football betting at many online sportsbooks as well.  As a result, the topic of rectifying the gender imbalance in sectors like wages, prize money, and marketing has become more prominent.

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