HistoryWomen may have been playing for as long as the game has existed. Evidence shows that a similar game ( ) was played by women during the (25–220 CE). Two female figures are depicted in Han Dynasty frescoes, playing Tsu Chu. There are, however, a number of opinions about the accuracy of dates, the earliest estimates at 5000 BCE. Reports of an annual match being played in , Scotland are reported as early as the 1790s."Football history: Winning ways of wedded women"
FA ban (1921–1971)Despite being more popular than some men's football events (one match saw a 53,000 strong crowd), women's football in England was halted in 1921 when outlawed the playing of the game on Association members' pitches, on the grounds stating that "the game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged." Some speculated that this may have also been due to envy of the large crowds that women's matches attracted. Despite the ban, some women's teams continued to play. The was formed and play moved to grounds. The ban was maintained by the FA for fifty years until 1971. The same year, UEFA recommended that the national associations in each country should manage the women's game. In 2002, of Dick Kerr's Ladies was the first woman to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. She was later honoured with a statue in front of the museum. It was not until 2008 (87 years later), that the FA issued an apology for banning women from the game of football.
Tournaments;The Munitionettes' Cup In August 1917, a tournament was launched for female munition workers' teams in northeast England. Officially titled the "Tyne Wear & Tees Alfred Wood Munition Girls Cup", it was also known as "The Munitionettes' Cup". The first winners of the trophy were who defeated Bolckow Vaughan">roup (disambiguation), group of individuals (human or non-human) working together to achieve their goal. As defined by Professor ...
The 'revival' of the women's gameThe English ''Women's FA'' was formed in 1969 (as a result of the increased interest generated by the ),University of Leicester fact sheet on women's football
Ladies World Championships, 1970 and 1971In 1970 an Italian ladies football federation, known as ''Federazione Femminile Italiana Giuoco Calcio'' or ''FFIGC'', ran a "World Championships" tournament in supported by the and Rossi strong wine manufacturers, entirely without the involvement of or any of some National associations. This event was at least partly played by clubs. A World Championships with national teams was hosted by Mexico the following year. The final (won by Denmark) was played at , the largest arena in the entire Americas north of the Panama Canal at the time, in front of no less than 112.500 attenders. On 17 April 1971, in the French town of , the first official women's international football match was played between France and the Netherlands.
ProfessionalismDuring the 1970s, Italy became the first country to introduce professional women's football players, on a part-time basis. Italy was also the first country to import foreign footballers from other Europeans countries, which raised the profile of the league. Players during that era included Susanne Augustesen (Denmark), Rose Reilly and Edna Neillis (Scotland), Anne O'Brien (Ireland) and Concepcion Sánchez Freire (Spain).
Asia and OceaniaIn 1989, Japan became the first country to have a semi-professional women's football league, the L. League – still in existence today as Division 1 of the . In Australia, the was formed in 2008. In 2015, the (CWSL) was launched with an affiliated second division, CWFL. Previously, The Chinese Women's Premier Football League was initiated in 1997 and evolved to the Women's Super League in 2004. From 2011 to 2014, the league was named the Women's National Football League. The Indian Women's League was launched in 2016. The country has held the top-tier tournament, Indian Women's Football Championship, since 1991.
North AmericaIn 1985, the 1985 United States women's national soccer team, United States national soccer team was formed. Following the , the first professional women's soccer league in the United States, the , was launched and lasted three years. The league was spearheaded by members of the World Cup-winning American team and featured players like , , as well as top-tier international players like Germany's and China's . A second attempt towards a sustainable professional league, the (WPS), was launched in 2009 and folded in late 2011. The following year, the (NWSL) was launched with initial support from the United States, Canadian, and Mexico federations. In 2017, was launched in Mexico and broke several attendance records. The league is composed of women's teams for the men's counterpart teams in .
21st centuryA report says that at the beginning of the 21st century, women's football like men's football is growing in both popularity and participation as well as more professional leagues worldwide. From the inaugural tournament held in 1991 to the 1,194,221 tickets sold for the visibility and support of women's professional football has increased around the globe. However, as in some other sports, women's pay and opportunities are lower in comparison with professional male football players. "Major league and international women's football have far less television and media coverage than the men's equivalent." Games can be regarded as being an ordeal to be "endured rather than enjoyed... more out of duty than expectation". The popularity and participation in women's football continues to grow. While a number of features continue to improve, this is not the case for female coaches. They continue to be underrepresented in a number of European women's leagues.
Women's World CupPrior to the 1991 establishment of the , some unofficial world tournaments took place in the 1970s and 1980s, including the FIFA's Women's Invitation Tournament 1988 which was hosted in China. The first was held in the People's Republic of China, in November 1991, and was won by the (USWNT). The third Cup, held in the United States in June and July 1999, drew worldwide television interest and a final in front of a record-setting 90,000+ crowd, where the United States won 5–4 on penalty kicks against . The US are the reigning champions as of 2021, having won in Canada in and in France in .
OlympicsSince 1996, a Women's Football Tournament has been staged at the . Unlike in the men's Olympic Football tournament (based on teams of mostly under-23 players), the Olympic women's teams do not have restrictions due to professionalism or age. England and other British Home Nations are not eligible to compete as separate entities because the does not recognise their FIFA status as separate teams in competitions. The participation of UK men's and women's sides at the 2012 Olympic tournament was a bone of contention between the four national associations in the UK from 2005, when the Games were awarded to London, to 2009. was "strongly" in favour of unified UK teams, while , , and were opposed, fearing adverse consequences for the independent status of the Home Nations within FIFA. At one stage it was reported that England alone would field teams under the UK banner (officially "Great Britain") for the 2012 Games. However, both the men's and women's Great Britain teams eventually fielded some players from the other home nations. (See )
UEFA Women's ChampionshipThe (or Women's Euro) was initially launched in 1982 under the name European Competition For Representative Women's Teams and recognized by as an official tournament. Previously, European women's tournaments featuring national teams were held in Italy in 1969 and , and were not recognized as "official" due to the FA Ban. The 1984 Finals was won by . won the 1987 Finals. Since then, as of 2017, the titles has been dominated by which has won at least eight of the events. The only other teams to win, as of 2017, are Norway which won in , and the which won at home in .
Copa Libertadores Femenina(Women's Liberators Cup) formally known as CONMEBOL Libertadores Femenina is the international women's football club competition for teams that play in nations. The competition started in the 2009 season in response to the increased interest in women's football. It is the only CONMEBOL club competition for women.
Football Association Women's Challenge Cup (FA Women's Cup)After the lifting of ban, the now defunct held its first national knockout cup in 1970–71. It was called the Trophy which became the in 1993. Southampton WFC was the inaugural winner. From 1983 to 1994 reached ten out of 11 finals, winning six of them. As of 2014, are the holders and are the club with a record 14 wins. Despite tournament sponsorship by some companies, entering the cup actually costs clubs more than they get in prize money. In 2015 it was reported that even if had won the tournament outright the £8,600 winnings would leave them out of pocket. The winners of the men's in the same year received £1.8 million, with teams not reaching the first round proper getting more than the women's winners.
Youth tournamentsIn 2002, FIFA inaugurated a women's youth championship, officially called the FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship. The first event was hosted by Canada. The final was an all- affair, with the defeating the host Canadians 1–0 with an extra-time golden goal. The second event was held in Thailand in 2004 and won by Germany women's national under-20 football team, Germany. The age limit was raised to 20, starting with the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women's World Championship, 2006 event held in Russia. Demonstrating the increasing global reach of the women's game, the winners of this event were North Korea women's national under-20 football team, North Korea. The tournament was renamed the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, effective with the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, 2008 edition won by the US in Chile. Japan women's national under-20 football team, Japan won the tournament in France in 2018 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, 2018. In 2008, FIFA instituted an FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, under-17 world championship. 2008 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, The inaugural event, held in New Zealand, was won by North Korea women's national under-17 football team, North Korea. Spain women's national under-17 football team, Spain won this tournament in Uruguay in 2018 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, 2018.
United StatesIn the United States, the intercollegiate sport began from physical education programs that helped establish organized teams. After sixty years of trying to gain social acceptance women's football was introduced to the college level. In the 1970s, women's club teams started to appear on college campus, and it wasn't until the 1980s that they started to gain recognition and gained a varsity status. Brown University was the first college to grant full varsity level status to their women's soccer team. The Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) sponsored the first regional women's soccer tournament at college in the US, which was held at Brown University. The first national level tournament was held at Colorado College, which gained official AIAW sponsorship in 1981. The 1990s saw greater participation mainly due to the Title IX of 23 June 1972, which increased school's budgets and their addition of women's scholarships.
"Currently there are over 700 intercollegiate women's soccer teams playing for many types and sizes of colleges and universities. This includes colleges and universities that are members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), and the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA)."
Sexist comments and decision-makingA number of footballers around the globe wear a Kit (association football), kit made up of a jersey, shorts, cleats (boots) and knee-length socks worn over shin guards. In 2004, FIFA President Sepp Blatter suggested that women footballers should "wear tighter shorts and low cut shirts... to create a more female aesthetic" and attract more male fans. His comment was criticized as Sexism, sexist by people involved with women's football and media outlets worldwide. In September 2008, FC de Rakt women's team (FC de Rakt DA1) in the Netherlands made international headlines by swapping its old kit (association football), kit for a new one featuring "short" skirts and "tight-fitting" shirts. This innovation, which had been requested by the team itself, was initially vetoed by the Royal Dutch Football Association on the grounds that according to the rules of the game shorts must be worn by all players, both male and female; but this decision was reversed when it was revealed that the FC de Rakt team were wearing "hot" pants under their skirts, and were therefore technically in compliance. Denying that the kit change was merely a publicity stunt, club chairman Jan van den Elzen told Reuters: 21-year-old team captain Rinske Temming said: Also in June 2011, Russian UEFA Women's Champions League contenders WFC Rossiyanka announced a plan to play in bikinis in a bid to boost attendances.
Wearing of hijabsIn June 2011, Iran women's national football team, Iran forfeited an Football at the 2012 Summer Olympics – Women's Asian Qualifiers, Olympic qualification match in Jordan women's national football team, Jordan, after trying to take to the field in hijabs and full body suits. awarded a default 3–0 win to Jordan, explaining that the Iranian kits were "an infringement of the Laws of the Game". The decision provoked criticism from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad while Iranian officials alleged that the actions of the Bahraini match delegate had been politically motivated. In July 2012, FIFA approved the wearing of hijab in future matches.
See also* Geography of women's association football * International competitions in women's football * List of women's association football clubs * Women's sports * Title IX * ''Gracie (film), Gracie'' * ''Bend It Like Beckham'' *''She's the Man'' * ''Alex & Me'' * ''Mustangs FC''
Further reading* * *