It has been a brilliant year for women's sports particularly with the Lionesses, England women's national football team, making it to the FIFA Women's World Cup final back in August and the England women's cricket team finally earning salaries equal to their male counterparts (where they'd previously been paid 15-25% of their fees) for internationals. Other major sporting events are now offering equal prize money to both male and female athletes.
These women athletes have shattered records and achieved remarkable feats, earning the respect and admiration of sports fans worldwide. The Women's World Cup gained unprecedented attention and record-breaking viewership figures. Let's explore the advancements in women's sports over the last decade, which means that young girls can aspire to have the same level of athletic stardom as their male counterparts, finally showcasing their equal talent as well as providing more opportunities for female athletes now and in future.
Increased outside investment and popularity
For women's football and cricket, both sports have had advancements in pay. Women's football has seen an increase in financial investment with major clubs, brands, and sponsors investing significantly in women's teams. This investment has led to higher salaries for female players, improved training facilities, and better overall conditions. For women cricketers, women have finally achieved equal pay with cricket boards and organisations now paying women on par with their male counterparts, bridging the gender-pay gap in the sport.
Women's football has increased in popularity including increased attendance at matches, larger audiences for television broadcasts, and major tournaments like the FIFA Women's World Cup and the UEFA Women's European Championship which have broken viewership records, attracting millions of fans worldwide.
For women's cricket, the advent and popularity of T20 cricket has led to more opportunities for women to play and showcase their skills on the global stage. Plus, success in major tournaments has raised the profile with teams like Australia, England, and India winning ICC Women's World Cups, consistently performing at a high level – and attracting more attention from fans and sponsors.
Professionalisation and improved facilities
Despite the US Women's Soccer Team reaching superstardom in the 1990s the women on the team like Mia Hamm and her teammates didn't make enough money from soccer so they had to resort to having part-time jobs to make ends meet. Many women didn't have equal access as their male counterparts to facilities and pitches where women were often given turf to play on, with the fake grass linked to cancer and injuries.
In recent years, many leagues worldwide have transitioned women's sports into professional status, meaning players now have access to full-time contracts, benefits, and competitive salaries. This has allowed female players to focus entirely on their football careers and has raised the overall quality of play. However, many women dominated in their sports despite having to work jobs and raise families as well.
For women's cricket, they have been given access to training centres and infrastructure that they didn't have before, and for women's football, significant advancement has been made in improving overall conditions, including equal pay, and access to resources that were previously exclusive to male players.
Globalisation has also meant women now have wider opportunities included in international club tournaments. Additionally, more players from various countries are playing in top leagues, enhancing the sport's international appeal.
Youth development schemes and role models
For women's football and cricket, both have invested in youth development programmes, nurturing and developing talent from a young age as well as providing better coaching, facilities, and support systems to nurture future stars. Cricket boards have invested in grassroots initiatives and academies to identify talent.
Just as star male players have inspired generations of boys, star players are equally inspiring girls – long after Bend it Like Beckham. Players like Megan Rapinoe, Marta Vieira da Silva, and Sam Kerr have become household names, showcasing the incredible talent and athleticism of female footballers.
The Ballon d'Or Féminin was introduced to honour the best female player in the world and female players are increasingly included in prestigious football awards ceremonies alongside their male counterparts.
For cricket, players like Ellyse Perry, Meg Lanning, Smriti Mandhana, and Shafali Verma serve as role models for the next generation of women cricketers.
The battle for recognition and equal pay in women's sports has been a long and arduous one – not only for women's cricket and football but also for women's tennis, golf, skiing, Olympic sports, and others. But it's an exciting time to be a female athlete and we have hopes for the future that the world will become more equitable for these burgeoning talents. Have you been inspired by this article? Let us know on Tria Beauty UK's Facebook or Instagram what you think of the new advancements.