Women in football should be inspired by progress in their sister sports

It is often said that, for any industry or individual to make it into the big time, they must first of all conquer America.

By that logic women’s football should be one of the foremost sports in the world at this point, with the US women’s team consistently bringing home the biggest international trophies for their country.

Perhaps the secret lies elsewhere, away from football, in sports where they are closer to achieving parity between the sexes.

With that in mind, here are just some of the female sporting figures that footballing heroines can turn to for inspiration.

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The women’s game is undoubtedly on the rise around the world but there is still plenty to learn from other sports.

Esports Ambassadors and Trend-Setters Show How It’s Done

One sporting sector that has continued to grow in recent years is Esports, with gamers competing in classic card games all the way through to EA’s FIFA video game titles falling under the Esports banner.

Just as the case is with traditional sports like football, women in Esports have had to work hard to break through the glass ceiling despite there being fewer barriers.

The way that women have broken through into the professional Esports ranks ensures that they are among the people who are setting the agenda. This has been achieved by creating seminal content that reconfigures how the game is played, either by becoming an author like Amanda Botfeld, or an ambassador for a top gaming company as Jennifer Shahade has done to become an authority on the Open Face Chinese version of poker.

By taking up these positions of prominence in their chosen fields, women like Shahade and Botfeld not only get to compete at the top of Esports but can shape how their chosen games develop in the future, better paving the way for other women to follow in their shoes now and down the line.

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More and more women are donning gaming headsets and making their way in the ever-expanding world of Esports.

There is certainly room for women to do the same in football, with pundits such as Alex Scott and Karen Carney hitting the airwaves on a regular basis, as well as the likes of Jade Ogle who is a director at Coventry United.

Katie Taylor and Other Women Warriors

Women’s football is not without its icons, with the likes of Megan Rapinoe, Marta, and Alex Morgan being held up as the sport’s poster girls.

Despite this they still trail way behind their male counterparts when it comes to club
earnings and television exposure.

One sport in which that is becoming less and less the case is boxing, where women like Katie Taylor, Amanda Serrano, and Claressa Shields are star attractions, headlining shows where male boxers often make up the undercard.

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This is largely thanks to Taylor and Shields being vocal about what they want from their promoters and governing bodies, demanding equality when it comes to limelight and fight purses.

Tennis Continues to Lead the Way

When it comes to earning power in the world of sports, tennis players are fast overtaking everybody, with Roger Federer officially the highest earning athlete on the planet, according to Forbes.

The great news is that players such as Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka are not far behind, thanks in part to the ATP and WTA tours becoming more aligned, and prize money at major events being made equal.

The key to the success of women’s tennis is that the powers-that-be in the sport have been made to realise how much they were originally missing out on by not tapping the full potential of their female players, something that will become even more important when Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic all retire in the near future.

1 Comment on Women in football should be inspired by progress in their sister sports

  1. Very insightful column. Remarkably, while men’s football is playing catchup in popularity (and quality) in the US v. the rest of the world, women’s football is following the basketball model of the rest of the world catching up to the popularity and quality of the US. Anyone watching the intensity and size of the fans at the US v. France and US v. Netherlands games, for example, would have been stunned in comparison to comparable games a decade ago.

    With United and City furiously building their women’s teams, and there already being many excellent players vying for spots on Team GB, I look forward to the women’s game increasing dramatically in popularity in Britain.

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