Women’s football has gained a lot of ground in recent years, especially in England.
For example, the 2019 Women’s FA Cup final had 43,000 fans in attendance. On the other hand, The Women’s Super League match between Everton and Manchester City reached 800,000 viewers, making it the most-watched women’s club soccer match on UK television.
Players such as Viviane Miedema, Jackie Groenen, and Lucy Bronze have gained wide recognition in the Women’s Super League and accumulated a good fan base.
With women’s soccer growing in popularity, the date the FA chose to celebrate this year’s cup final is striking.
The game between Arsenal Women vs Chelsea Women will be held on December 5 at Wembley. Precisely on that date, but 100 years ago, the FA banned women from football.
During the First World War, men’s football was suspended because most of the men were sent to the front lines. This caused women to start practicing the sport in his absence.
Teams such as Dick or Kerr Ladies FC were among the most popular of the era, drawing audiences of up to 50,000 to their games.
After the war and with the resume of men’s football, the FA declared in 1921 that women were not fit to practice the sport.
Social conventions dictated that women should abandon the pitch and return to their traditional and domestic roles. And the FA supported this vision. In fact, doctors were convened to provide statements stating that the female body was not suitable for sport and that it represented a significant risk to their health.
It would be in 1971 that the FA would lift the ban and allow women to return to playing the sport officially.
The next final of the Women FA Cup will be a good opportunity to reflect on the role of women in sports.