The Rise of Woman's Football
History of Women's Football
In June 1568, having abdicated and fled to England, Mary Queen of Scots is reputed to have watched a football match on a ‘playing-green’ somewhere between Carlisle Castle and the Scottish border.
But we can probably trace the roots of modern women’s football back to 1894, with the formation of the British Ladies’ Football Club by two upper class early feminist activists.
A Revival in Wartime
It was the First World War that revived interest in female football in England. With British men away fighting, women began working in local munition factories. In their leisure time they formed 150 football teams to play challenge fixtures to raise money for war charities.
The most famous women’s team at this time was Dick, Kerr’s Ladies from Preston, who included in their ranks an early female superstar, Lily Parr. In 1920 Dick, Kerr’s played St. Helens in front of a crowd of 53,000 at Goodison Park.
Women's Football Banned
Dick, Kerr’s Ladies became internationally known, but in 1921 the FA effectively banned football for women in England by prohibiting female matches on any ground of a club registered with the FA. During the war it had been deemed ‘patriotic’ for women to play; but now the opposite seemed to be the case, as women strived for more equal rights in a number of domains.
While women’s football never completely disappeared, it remained a very minor sport in Britain for almost 50 years. National interest was renewed only when the male England team won the World Cup in 1966, an event which attracted many female TV viewers in Britain. Women’s football was reborn.
Growth of Women's Football
Today Women in football are shining brighter than ever before. Our women and girls participation base continues to increase and provide one of the greatest growth opportunities for Football.
Women make up 22% of the Australia’s participation base with players born in over 150 different nations and set to rise with FFA’sGenderEqualityActionPlan which aims to have 50% gender participation split by 2027.
In Australia, which has many other sports to choose from, almost 400,000 girls and women play in registered competition.
Still a long way to go
The announcement that viewing figures for the Women’s World Cup hit 1.12 billion is hugely impressive and raises vital questions about how we measure the success of the women’s game versus the men’s.
Demands for equal pay in football have grown louder following the successful staging of the Women's World Cup tournament in France.
In total, Fifa awarded $30m (£24m) to the competing teams in the women's tournament.
For last year's men's World Cup, the total prize money awarded was $400m (£315m), more than ten times as much
Fifa's position is that the organisation is making significant progress in encouraging the women's game.
Prize money "is only a small part of the investments Fifa is doing for the development of women's football around the entire world,"
Over the next three years, Fifa plans to invest $400m-$500m directly into the women's game.
Its last financial report showed that the organisation spent $28m on women's football promotion.