We are not sure about you, but we are still buzzing with the incredible achievement of the Lionesses, aka the England women’s football team, on Sunday! Storming to win Euro 2022 at Wembley with a final against Germany – what dreams are made of! Whether you are a football fan or not, we believe the legacy of this win is huge, especially for young girls. We wanted to share a little bit about why and give you a free download to help inspire the next generation. Scroll down to read more.
Women’s football in the UK
You may not know, but Women’s football was banned in the UK at professional grounds in 1921. The Football Association (FA) infamously said at the time “The game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged.” Can you believe it?! This ban remained for a whopping 50 years and meant that women could never make a living from the sport, could only play in parks and fields, and was generally discouraged in young girls.
Once the ban was lifted in 1971, women who wanted to play football had to fight tooth and nail for recognition, pitch space and funding. Not only that, but the impression also that football is not for girls has hung around in our school system like a bad smell. Still today, only 44% of secondary schools offer equal football coaching to boys and girls.
Even when preparing for Euro 2022, most major clubs turned down hosting any of the Lionesses’ fixtures here in the UK because they didn’t want the cost and didn’t think people would want to come watch the matches! Errr… hello?! A totally sold-out record attendance of 87,192 fans at Wembley on Sunday – the most for any Euros match, male or female!
We know we’re not alone when we say that watching this historic victory has left us with no doubt that this will pave the way for so many future female footballers and will change women’s football forever. Who run the world?!
The Lionesses inspiring the next generation
At Martha Brook, our team is made up of 95% females and female empowerment is something very close to our hearts. Watching the Lionesses play and how the nation got behind them ignited a team chat where we reflected upon equality issues we faced at school. Our founder Martha, who was mad keen on football as a teenager, shared how she used to go to school aged 13 with her England kit under her school uniform, but was never allowed to play, only finally getting the chance to join a girls’ team at University. We all sat and remembered a time when playing sport or being competitive wasn’t considered very “girly” and how this impacted on our own childhoods.
We passionately believe that no one should feel they have to make themselves smaller or not be able to pursue the things they love because of their sex or gender. The women’s team and the building support of the nation inspired us so much that we made a graphic to post on Sunday morning on our social channels with a quote from one of our favourite England players Lucy Bronze. We were blown away to see that it has gone slightly viral and has been shared by many celebrities, sportswomen and even Lucy Bronze herself (we must be dreaming!).
Ever since lots of you have asked whether we can share it as a free download to put up in classrooms and offices, so here you go. You can download the print here, and do tag us @marthabrookldn, we’d love to see it!
Let us know if you watched the match in the comments and how the Lionesses have inspired you!
P.S. Want more inspiring freebies? Do follow us over on our Instagram and keep your eyes peeled here!