Women also like football
For some reason, most of the men seem to assume that women don’t (or can’t) like football.
According to ESPN (Entertainment & Sports Programming Network), however, 44 percent of American football fans are female. In fact, two of the NFL’s most historically successful teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers, have a majority female fan base at 50-60 percent.
In Europe, at the same time, UEFA continues its public awareness campaign celebrating the important contribution of women to the development of European football, and men would be surprised to know the numbers of the female fans of European football teams. So why are we still pretending women don’t like this sport? Why are women scoffed at when they say they like the sport? Why do men feel the need to say “Name five players and the coach” when women say they like a specific team?
For one outdated patriarchal reason or another, the conversation around sports usually revolves around men. From the notably male-focused advertisements to decades worth of sexism from male-dominated commentators, there’s a frankly bizarre shadow cast over the idea that women are legitimate fans of a particular sport or team — and that extends, of course, to football.
Perhaps it’s because everything we know about the sport is from watching instead of playing -even though there are plenty of male fans who have never played football in their entire life (actually, as participation by boys continues to slip, the number of girls playing high school football has doubled in the past decade).
Perhaps it’s because the referees at the games are male – except a few of them: Nicole Petignat, Stéphanie Frappart and Nelly Viennot are the women who have set several milestones in European football. Of them, only Frappart is currently still active as a referee at the top level.
Or maybe, most likely, it’s because men don’t want to accept that women can enjoy something men have claimed as their own. Sure, plenty of men will gladly accept women in their fantasy football league and share couch space during the game, but too many still scoff at women who say they love football.
But women are indeed taking over the world of football too: just to give you an example, the England women’s team are presently in a very respectable 6th place in the FIFA world rankings. Compare this to the men’s team, who are currently in 4th place, and you’ll see just how far women’s football in England has come. In 2017, the FA launched its Gameplan For Growth, an ambitious strategy that would double the participation of women and girls in football.
It’s clear that many girls love the game, but sometimes feel (or are made to feel) that it’s not for them.
Maybe it’s time for the “women just aren’t interested in football” narrative to be retired – and here are some reasons why.
A study found that 90% of female participants believe that being in the stadium cheering on their football team can make a difference in the outcome of the game. Additionally, more women than men found the energy at a stadium to be more exciting than watching the game elsewhere.
The study shows that women are half as likely as men to miss a football match because of a losing record. There’s more: women are more likely to go see their team even when the team has a losing record late in the season —this is true loyalty at its best.
While male fans in the survey were committed to wearing a costume and dancing to secure a win, the women responding to the survey were willing to go the extra distance, going for a combination of cheering, costumes, dancing, and face paint to show their team some love.
Much like some men won’t wash their lucky shirt for a whole season, the study found that 40% of women watching football considered themselves to be superstitious. They’re also super committed when it comes to their game-time outfit, as they were twice as likely as men to say that an outfit could increase the energy inside the stadium.
The pre-game tailgate is one of the most important aspects to the complete game day experience. most women believe that a combination of the right food and the right people will bring the right energy to the stadium just as much as men.
Yes, girls surely love football as much as guys do.
Football is not a man’s world anymore. It’s time to share the beer and pass the chicken wings because women are joining your fan base and there’s nothing you can do to stop them!