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Women’s and men’s soccer: what are the main differences?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

Professional soccer has been around in England since the 1800s, but some people believe it was created 2000 years ago by the Aztecs. However, women’s soccer didn’t exist until 1894. According to FIFA,- Fédération Internationale de Football Association – in 2023 there were 16.6 million women and girls worldwide in organized soccer. This number is only going to grow through the years. Regardless, they still have to deal with many challenges. 


The first men’s professional club was Sheffield F.C., founded in October 1857, while the first women’s professional club was the British Ladies Football Club, created in 1895. They had a short moment of fame with thousands of supporters, but it didn’t take long for people to start to criticize, saying that “girls were playing ‘man’s game’ “.

At the same time World War I was happening, women had to step in and become active in the community looking for jobs, and that included creating soccer clubs. It gained popularity in 1921 when the English Football Association (FA) banned female teams, affirming it was unsafe.

Of course, at that time, other countries followed. Afterwards, in 1971, the first Women’s World tournament in Mexico was never recognized as the first World Cup and was erased from the sport’s history. It took 20 years for the official FIFA Women’s World Cup to take place in China.

Another example of these differences is that the first report of this modality being televised was in the 1970s. The first men’s soccer game was televised in 1937 in the UK between Arsenal and Arsenal Reserves


Since day one, women have been paid differently than men, mainly in sports. The first professional women’s players were paid 10 shillings – which it’s equivalent to 50p – to cover their own expenses. According to CNN, at the 2023 Women’s World Cup, the players would receive, on average, 25 cents for every dollar earned by men at their World Cup in 2022. Even if it’s improving, it’s still important to understand how grotesque the difference between both genders is. 


The media usually deals with things in the way that gives them the most visibility and, consequently, more viewers. Regarding female content, especially in male-dominated spaces such as soccer, it gets even worse. Women frequently get harassed in their workplace in different ways, like being called names by the sport’s so-called fans, getting awkward questions from journalists in interviews, or even sexually.

Even in this new generation that cares more about equality and human rights, there are plenty of sexist people. This sexism is not only towards female athletes, but also any women who work in that area, such as journalists, coaches, referees, and so on.

Despite these atrocious people saying horrible things about strong and independent women, there are also people willing to help. Women In Soccer is an organization that has goals towards helping girls grow in this male-dominated scenario.

With that being said, it’s crucial for people to understand the difficulties that women need to get through in the soccer community and support each and every one of them. 


The article above was edited by Lorena Lindenberg

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Giulianna Behrens

Casper Libero '28

Oii! Meu nome é Giulianna Behrens (ou Giuli) e estou no meu primeiro semestre de jornalismo na Cásper Líbero. Meus interesses são diversos porém em especial literatura e esportes.
Isabella Lutiano

Casper Libero '27

Atualmente cursando o primeiro semestre de jornalismo na Faculdade Cásper Líbero.