For many years, the practice of football has only been a privilege for men, while millions of girls around the world have fought for equality to be able to play with the ball the same way men do.
It seems that women’s football has been growing recently, making a much bigger appearance in the audience and in the media. They’re starting to gain recognition, visibility and that ‘equality’ they were looking for so long. But…
Is that true? Do people really believe in the change?
A part of today’s society strives to make us believe that football is a sport that is more linked to men than to women, when the first official match between two women’s teams was played on March 23, 1895, just a few years later that an official game of men, and witnessed about 10 thousand people.
Last year (2018), according to official numbers of FIFA, 30 million women in the world practiced football regularly in federated areas, a figure that, surely has already increased exponentially.
Sadly, there are still people who continue with the idea of not recognizing women as professional in this sport, even if they do exactly the same as men: playing football. This happens especially in the Third World countries, far from the professional leagues of England or Spain, where women are highly accepted.
Some countries like Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, and Chile women cannot play football in the same conditions as men. This is caused because football is not seen as a professional sport for women, meaning they don’t receive a salary to play, and so they must have another job apart from the passion they love.
Not to mention other shocking conditions…
In many places in Latin America (and the world), women do not have access to medical coverage, labor contracts or collective bargaining agreements.
But, if women’s football is ‘supposed’ to be changing, why is not happening all over?
What are the excuses for not professionalizing women’s football?
It could be seen from three different points:
Number 1: The lack of money.
The most used phrase to deny equality between men and women in football is that women’s football is not profitable. It should be seen how many of these clubs that rely on this excuse have surplus thanks to male football and how much they invest in this discipline.
In such a case, FIFA allocates money by the Federation for women’s football: it will be necessary to see how much is really spent on girls. It should be noted that it is much lower than what is invested in men’s football: in the World Cup in Russia, the mother entity of football invested 350 million euros, while for women, in the World Cup in France 2019, invested 25 million (approx.).
Number 2: The soccer “level” of women’s teams.
First, it will be necessary to see who or who are the ones who have the power to evaluate the “level” of the game in football.
Apart from this, it is true that there is an inequality in certain physical and tactical conditions between men and women. And it is that women do not have the possibility to work in Youth Divisions (because there are not any) and then they begin their training at an advanced age or they must do it in small teams in men until, by regulation, they are not allowed to continue with their peers because federations do not allow mixed teams.
Number 3: The public is not interested in women’s soccer.
It is enough for them to only have seen the match between Athletic and Atlético de Madrid in San Mamés for the quarterfinals of the Copa de la Reina, which was attended by more than 48 thousand people, many more than those who will see their teams usually in a meeting of the Chilean or Argentine male league, for example, to realize that this is a lie.
It’s clear that a big change still needs to be made, and that is going to take more than expected to make the high power of football invest and trust in the prosperity of women’s football has to offer.
We’ll need to wait and see how Women’s World Cup develops this year in France, and if it would be a big or an insignificant push for those girls, for those who still fighting against the powerful men of football. Only one thing to say: Stay strong and play as you like, because football can be a men’s game, but clearly, it is a women’s game as well.