68 Footballing Countries Where Women are on Top – Birds on the Blog

68 Footballing Countries Where Women are on Top

You can’t have missed it and have probably witnessed at least some of the biggest shows on earth unfold in front of us over the past month, which culminated in France’s stunning 4 – 2 victory over the heroic Croatian team in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium. In fact, a total of 3.4 billion viewers or half of the world’s population will have tuned in to watch at least some of the action this year. With all of this attention on the men’s game, however, we thought it’s time that we well and truly shone the light back on women’s football and check how it’s progressing on the global stage.

The women’s game can be said to have been played from as long ago as the Han Dynasty in China, where women were involved in a game called ‘kickball’ where a feather ball was unceremoniously smashed around a field into a bamboo goal.

Women’s Football in the UK

In the UK, women’s football has had a bit of a chequered history dating back to 1894 with the formation of the British Ladies’ Football Club and followed by a record attendance of 53,000 in 1920 when Dick Kerr’s Ladies played against St Helens in Preston. This rise in popularity was quickly stopped with the country-wide banning of the women’s game in 1921, which stood in place until as long as 1971.

Recently, however, the game is growing in popularity and professionalism with more and more women playing and coaching in the game. This popularity has largely been driven by the success of the national team who got a bronze in the Olympics in 2015 and reached the semis of the European Championships in 2017, which has helped them rise to second place in the FIFA rankings, way above their male compatriots.

However, according to the football blog, this is not an isolated occurrence and out of this year’s 32 competing World Cup teams, 9 of the finalists have a stronger women’s team than men’s, according to the FIFA rankings. You can see the full list of teams in the chart below:

68 Soccer Nations where Women are on Top

However, despite the success of the women’s game lately, can more be done to let men and women compete on a level playing field?


A 2017 report from the World Players Union found that there is still a huge gender pay inequality in the sport with $600 being the average salary in the women’s game, and 60% of players receiving between 1 and $600 per month after tax. For the National teams, the situation doesn’t get a lot better where 35% of the female team members receive no pay at all to play for their national team

On top of this, they found that 61% of players surveyed received no childcare support from their clubs and 70% had suffered discrimination on the basis of gender by fans on match day. This is probably not helped by the likes of the ex-FIFA President Sepp Blatter who famously stated that women football players should “wear tighter shorts and low cut shirts… to create a more female aesthetic

I’m happy to say that both Sepp Blatter and those days are hopefully gone, and the last couple of years have seen some major steps towards gender equality.

In 2017 the Brazilian women’s team lead a strike against the federation due to unfair conditions for the women’s team, the US federation agreed on per diems equal to those of the men’s team and to provide financial support for pregnant players and the Norwegian Football Association agreed on pay parity.

This trend looks like it is going to continue this year with New Zealand’s Football Ferns, now being paid equally to the men, although this isn’t that surprising given the fact that they rank 100 places above them in the FIFA rankings!!!

Your Thoughts

Anyway, hopefully you enjoyed some of the action in Russia, and despite all of the diving and play acting, hopefully it inspires the next generation of female and male players to take up the beautiful game.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the future of women’s football in the comments below:

  • Do you think women and men should be paid equally in football?
  • Is sexism still rife in the modern workplace in the UK?
  • What steps should be taken to ensure women are given some of the more influential positions in football?

Author Martin Schult – Soccer Training Lab


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