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- 02 February 2015 00:00
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I Kick Ball’s Deal with It...... ‘This Girl Can’ reinforces the potential power of women in the football community
Sport England’s launch of ‘This Girl Can’ uses the feature ‘I kick balls deal with it’ encouraging females everywhere to forget about any judgement they may face and do what they enjoy or want to be involved in... but what is the position of women’s football in England?
The Football Association claims that women’s football is well on the way to becoming the second most popular team sport in the country by 2018. The introduction of the women’s Semi Professional Super League has capitalised on the popularity of Team GB’s women at the London 2012 Olympics, seeing an exponential rise in the number of female players in the game.
Governing bodies of the sport have been trying to address the lack of female presence in the football community both on and off the pitch for many years. The introduction of campaigns that target discrimination in football has kick started the increase in participation rates, with more than a million women and girls playing the game today.
‘Kick It Out’ a joint campaign funded by the Football Association (FA), The Professional Football Association (PFA) and the Premier League, has made a pivotal contribution to enabling and facilitating more women and girls to play without the fear of judgement. Using female role models from the game the campaign has targeted the under representation of females by making them the face of football.
The trailblazing success of women like the Sunderland chief executive Margaret Byrne and West Ham United’s vice chair Karen Brady prove that women know as much about the game and the industry, marking a significant change in the way women are seen in the football community.
England Women’s first appearance at Wembley in November attracted a crowd of 55,000, although the Lionesses lost to Germany 3-0 the game marked an emotional watershed. Live TV coverage on BBC, a record crowd at a women’s game in England and a generation of girls seeing the women’s team treated the same as the men for the first time meant that finally the grassroots revolution for women’s football could finally be witnessed, proving that women’s football is on the steepest of upward trajectories.
Despite this victory for female football there is still a huge disparity in the equality of males and females involved in the game, but with an increase in campaigns that seek to provide positive female role models like Sport England’s launch of ‘This Girl Can’ it may not be too far in the future that key players of the England women’s squad are household names that both female and male fans of the game are able to appreciate for their skill and technical aptitude.