Before 1921, women's football flourished in England with about 150 women's teams whose matches "pulled bigger crowds than most men's games". Then women were banned from playing football on pitches with spectator facilities, i.e. professional stadiums, since the sport was "quite unsuitable for females". This ban was lifted in 1971 (via), the same year women's football "hit the big time" in Mexico, "a success because the organisers did not assume it would be a commercial or sporting failure. It was sold and promoted as football tournament, one that just happened to feature women" (via).
Women's participation in football also provides a good example of the mutual ripple effect that can exist between a sport's level of television coverage and its increasing uptake in the community. Since the 2011 World Cup, media coverage of international women's football fixtures has steadily gained traction – not least on the back of the French team's commendable performances, which have subsequently pulled in higher audiences. Alongside these television and sports performances, the number of female members of football clubs has soared since the 2010-2011 season (+90%).Here is a strong message of female empowerment (Germany's Women's World Cup advert):
Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel, 2017:10
photograph (French team, 1979, photo credit: AFP/CARL FOURIE) via