Football has officially come home, and support for women’s football is now at an all-time high, with sky-high spectator numbers, packed stadiums and children looking up to our Lionesses with pride and admiration.
But, it was only last year that we reflected on the fact that 100 years ago, women’s football was banned by the FA. We have come an incredibly long way, but there is still a long way to go to make football an equal sport.
If we have learned anything in this tournament, it is whether we win or lose, the women’s teams deserve respect, resources and celebration.
So what could this victory mean for the world of football in general?
1. Spaces to play
Adequate spaces to play can be an issue for women’s soccer teams, with some not receiving enough funding or sponsorships to cover the cost of pitches, meaning players and coaches have to.
Even at the professional level, we’ve seen women play in stadiums that aren’t always of the same caliber as their male counterparts.
We hope that this victory will change things, giving female and non-binary players the same spaces and opportunities to thrive, which means that the quality of our players will continue to rise.
2. Women’s sets
Earlier this year, Alex Scott said:
“In 2002, we had second-hand football kits from the men’s first team. And it seemed that I was like using a parachute. Even having women with their own custom fitted outfits is a step.”
When many of the older members of this Lionesses team began playing, they may have also been wearing male uniforms. However, seeing people walking the streets of the UK wearing t-shirts with Williamson, Bright and Kirby on the back is unbelievable.
Ensuring that young women, particularly those with changing bodies going through puberty, can get their hands on gear that fits them well is vital.
Women In Sport’s research found complex barriers and deep-seated negative attitudes that are affecting girls’ enjoyment of sport. Body image and puberty are also important factors.
Could this win bring more money into the game for important things like equipment, allowing girls and women to feel comfortable playing football?
3. Respect of the general public
Women’s football has not always received the support it deserves. It is seen as softer and more familiar. It is a welcoming space, and the sheer joy of the fans during this tournament has shown it.
We expect the huge viewing and attendance figures from Euro 2022 to carry over to the Women’s Super League (WSL).
4. Soccer in schools
Only 63% of schools currently offer girls’ football in physical education lessons, according to FA research.
For many girls growing up, netball is the default sport at school. But if they are given the option to play soccer, they may be able to foster a passion for the sport that can grow from there.
5. Better pay
England’s senior men’s and women’s players have been paid the same match fees and bonuses since 2020, but at club level, the same sort of pay parity does not exist for Premier League players as there is for those in the WSL. .
But who knows, with the hype around the Lionesses and the growing popularity of women’s soccer, maybe the players could get better salaries and more opportunities around endorsement and branding deals.