Doing what the men couldn’t: The importance of the Lionesses’ Euro win
It has been over two months since the Lionesses clutched victory at the Euros. However, it is vital to keep this win alive in the hopes of continuing to push women’s football forward.
Lineswomen. Female match officials. Women managers. As a young woman myself, seeing so many women involved in a football match was a sign that women’s football could no longer be ignored. The 2022 Euros was evidence of how far women’s football has come, but also exactly why it cannot be dismissed any longer.
For context, the last time England won silverware was 56 years ago in 1966. Years of heartache and frustration would follow for English football fans. England has often been agonisingly close to victory, then a few penalties are missed and it’s all over. The recent 2021 Euros still haunts many of us to this day. Then came the women’s Euros in 2022.
As the prospect of penalties loomed once again for England, it seemed a familiar story was set to be written once again. However, when player Chloe Kelly poked in the winner in extra time, a new tale could be told. Not bad for a sport that the Football Association actually banned women from playing for over 50 years.
Women footballers have not had an easy come-up. Yet despite setbacks, the current England team would be the one to actually get the job done. The Lionesses did what the men could not manage to do in the previous year.
A few months ago, I wrote an article on the issue of women’s pay. I discussed how if people show little interest in female sports such as football, then equal pay remains a difficult task. This year’s Euros saw the Lionesses catapulting the brilliance of women’s football onto the screens of 17 million across the nation. Many people who had never watched women’s football are now interested. As the excitement around women’s football builds, so can its case for equal pay.
So, not only did this win spark the interest of millions of young women to take up a sport that so many times they have been encouraged not to, but it also demands the respect that female athletes are so often left without.
This win has shone a spotlight on the women’s game, but it cannot stop there. This moment will pass, which is why the momentum can not be left to die out. Attending Women’s Super League games or following a women’s football team are both vital ways to ensure that this Euros win will have a lasting impact.