1st Edition

A Game for Rough Girls? A History of Women's Football in Britain

By Jean Williams Copyright 2003
    240 Pages
    by Routledge

    240 Pages
    by Routledge

    Can we truly call football England's 'national' game?
    How have we arrived at this point of such clear inequality between men's and women's football?

    Between 1921 and 1972, women were banned from playing in football League grounds in the UK. Yet in 1998 FIFA declared that "the future is feminine" and that football was the fastest growing sport for women globally.

    The result of several years of original research, the book traces the continuities in women's participation since the beginnings of the game, and highlights the significant moments that have influenced current practice. The text provides:

    *insight into the communities and individual experiences of players, fans, investors, administrators and coaches
    *examination of the attitudes and role of national and international associations
    *analysis of the development of the professional game
    *comparisons with women's football in mainland Europe, the USA and Africa.

    A Game for Rough Girls is the first text to properly theorize the development of the game. Examining recreational and elite levels, the author provides a thorough critique, placing women's experience in the context of broader cultural and sports studies debates on social change, gender, power and global economics.

    Introduction: Ladies Football or Women's Soccer? Part One: A History of Women's Soccer in Britain Part Two: The Rise of a Global Game 1. Women's Soccer in the US 2. Women's Soccer in Europe 3. Women's Soccer in Africa 4. FIFA and the Olympic Movement Part Three: A Professional Era 5. Professional Women Players 6. Coaching Women 7. Coaching Women 8. Women's Soccer and the Media Conclusion: The Future is Feminine?


    Jean Williams is a senior lecturer in education in the School of History and International Studies at De Montfort University, Leicester. She is a consultant to media and sports organisations including FIFA, and is currently involved in a major cross-national research project into women's football.

    'Jean Williams' book helps us understand how women have coped with the historical and contemporary roots of (the peculiarly English) male contempt for their offence in playing a supposedly man's game. The book is a product of detailed research using official reports, minutes, newspapers, magazines, photographs and other documentary material, personal memorabillia as well as observation, interviews or questionnaires from players, fans, investors, administrators and coaches. Their views make fascinating reading'. - Soccer History