England women’s football team, nicknamed the Lionesses, play their first game against Scotland, on the 19th July.
“We are extremely proud of the significant strides which have been made in redressing the gender imbalance in prize money across the whole of sport over the last three years,” said Ivan Peter Khodabakhsh, chief executive of the Ladies European Tour for golf.
However, there is still a large gender pay gap between male and female players. The highest paid English women’s player, Steph Houghton earned £65,000 a year, while Premier League player Wayne Rooney earned £300,000 a week.
Even with the increase in the prize money, the lack of support for women’s football can be seen from the attendance figures for 2016. These showed the gap between men and women’s football with 13 million people attending the Premier League, but only 57,000 being at the Women’s Super League.
The Football Association, more commonly known as the FA, is the governing body of football in England. They launched a campaign ‘For All’ at the beginning of the year, with the aim of doubling the amount of girls playing football by 2020.
Marzena Bogdanowicz, head of marketing and commercial for women’s football at the FA says, “We need to inspire the nation through the Lionesses performances on the pitch but also through working with individuals relevant to the girls.”
The FA enlisted pop band Little Mix to help. The official campaign video includes their single ‘Salute’, which features England’s captain Steph Houghton and football freestyler Liv Cooke.
“When we wrote Salute we wanted to convey a message of all women being united, something we know all fans are when supporting England.” – Little Mix
Little Mix encourage women, girls and football fans to support the England team by uploading videos and images using the #Lionesses.
What I think
I started playing football for a team at the age of eight, but after nine years I’ve recently stopped, because there aren’t enough players. I think that campaigning for more girls to get involved in football is really important, to ensure women’s football continues.
I believe that football is stereotypically a male dominated sport. Men’s football matches draw in much bigger crowds, and are shown on TV much more than women’s matches.
I think the FA’s campaign, and rising support of the Lionesses will encourage more girls’ to start playing football. Hopefully this will mean more female football teams can be created.
What do you think? Please comment below.