4 stereotypes about women's football

When it comes to women's football, there is no shortage of preconceived stereotypes. Not physically strong enough, goalkeepers who are just there to fill out 11 on a side, etc. Maybe you've heard them too. Here are the 4 most widespread stereotypes about women's football.

4 stereotypes about women's football

Stereotype #1: Women's football is less spectacular

It's sometimes been said that women's football is less spectacular than men's football. It makes us wonder whether those who say this have actually watched a match from the women's D1 league championship. For starters, there are, generally speaking, many goals scored in matches between elite teams (in France and abroad), and they are often spectacular. Stéphanie Roche, ranked second in the FIFA Puskas Award (given to the footballer having scored the "most beautiful" goal of the year) in 2014. Her excellent execution of a sequence of moves--pigeon wing, lob, and strike--during the Irish football championship, placed her ahead of a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic.


Stereotype #2: Women are not physically strong enough to play football.

If we are to believe those with preconceived notions, women's football is much less physical than men's football. Having myself played in the women's top division in France, I can assure you that shoulder knocks, intense aerial duels, and hard tackles, are by no means exclusive to men. According to FIFA, during the 2015 World Cup, women players ran an average of 10.2 km, only 1 less than the average ran by their male counterparts during a match.



Stereotype #3: Women goalkeepers leak like a sieve!

There's no doubt that women keepers endure the most criticism. Even within the world of women's football, some think that there's a problem with the size of the goals. In fact, the manager of the Chelsea women's football team spoke out on this just recently after the 2020 Women's UEFA Championship League final was won by Lyon.

Besides the size of the goals, women goalkeepers' abilities are sometimes called into question. Some point to Sarah Bouhaddi (keeper on the French national team and voted best women's keeper in the world in 2015) at the 2015 World Cup, whose poor clearing of the ball in a match against Colombia led to a goal for the opposing team, which reignited a debate among the last holdouts.

It's fair to point out that women's football is growing at a strong pace, and that earlier on training was focused on the players out on the pitch and that keepers weren't given priority. But things are different now and the sport continues to evolve significantly.


Stereotype #4: No one watches women's football!

Lastly, many people point to the appeal of women's football on TV or in stadiums.

However, the 2015 World Cup final between the USA and Japan attracted more than 26 million viewers in the United States and over 60 million worldwide. The France-Germany quarterfinals match from the same championship was watched by over 4 million viewers (which at the time was a new record for the TNT network).

And what about France's two opening matches in the World Cup, each of which was followed by nearly 10 million fans in front of their screens?