Gender Discrimination in Women’s Football

By Stella Robertson


Women’s football is being taken more seriously by the SFA. Women’s football teams have been around since 1895, but only in recent years have they been viewed as ‘professional’ and more than something women play for fun. Within football, there has been a major gender discrimination problem, with many believing that women’s football is not to the same standard as their male counterparts. 


Laura McCartney, 18 years old, is a Rangers 1st team ladies player and former player for Glasgow City FC. She has represented Scotland numerous times at different levels, and played in the previous Under 19s Euros in 2019. Laura said:

“People are starting to take women’s football more seriously, especially with increased investment and exposure in recent years that has allowed the sport to become more accessible to a wider group of people. It really makes people more aware of how genuinely good it is and how good it can be, therefore taking it more seriously. I also think you can see in recent women’s world cups and euros, the amount of fans at the games, and the quality of the stadiums that they are playing in just shows how far women’s football has come.”

She continues:

“Years ago when I had just started playing you would have never got the amount of people going to the women’s games that you do now, and they would have never been playing in PSG stadiums and places like that. In general, over quite a short space of time women’s football has been taken more seriously because I think that the people in charge have started taking it more seriously. If that doesn’t happen then womens football doesn’t have the backing it needs to improve. It’s also great for people and supporters to see big football teams taking their women’s team as seriously, it highlights to them that it is a legitimate sport and many people are doing it competitively. 

She adds:

“We love football for the same reasons that they love football.”


Rangers Ladies Player, Laura McCartney


There are many misconceptions around the topic of women’s football, one being that there is no interest among football fans for the women’s game. This is despite the fact that the Women’s World Cup had a record-breaking 1.2 billion viewers in 2019. Laura said:

“A lot of people are under the impression that women’s football is just a wasted investment as all they’ve known is mens football. Despite this though, women’s football is the fastest growing sport on earth in terms of popularity and how far it’s starting to go. There is a very clear interest in women’s football and I think that’s a major misconception that people have. It is not to do with the fact that there’s a lack of interest, in reality, more often than not, it’s down to lack of funding. People who felt like women’s football isn’t on par with mens football, if they were to sit down and watch a game, I can say with confidence that they would be surprised at how good, and sometimes better, women’s football can be.”

There are differences in the game, with the fact that male footballers are generally more strong and hold more power than their female counterparts. Laura said:

“I do think mens football may be played at a quicker pace, however it could be argued that women’s football is generally more technical based.”

She adds:

“At the end of the day it is the same sport with the same rules. I do feel that this is just something that will get better over the coming years, especially when you look at the progress in women’s football, like the treatment and exposure it has got in the more recent years.”


As of last year, women in Scotland have been paid for their contribution to the game. The most that a professional female footballer in Scotland makes is £53,000 a year, while male players can make up to £25,000 a week. Laura said:

“It’s so amazing and well deserved that women players are being viewed as professional and getting paid for playing football. It’s great to see, considering that women players across the world in Germany, the USA, and even England have been getting paid for years. Although Scotland may have been a few years behind, it is starting to happen. I also think that it’s not only great to see women being paid to play football, it’s also great because it gives younger kids and players aspirations. They can look up to the professionals as role models and see that they could potentially live that dream, that if they work hard enough they can get paid to do what they love, which is playing football. Although it is not the same amount as men playing the same game, the fact that women have started to get paid shows that it will only continue to happen and grow to a point that hopefully will eventually be equal to the man’s game.”


There is still a long way to go with achieving equality among the genders within the world of football, but with companies like Sky Sports and BBC Sports investing £24 million into the Womens Soccer League, the women’s game is beginning to get the rightful funds and recognition that it needs. Laura said:

“Womens football has come such a long way in the past 5-10 years or so, especially in England and America with their Women’s Sport Leadership Academy, and the National Women’s Soccer League respectively, it just shows how investment can have such a huge impact with their top leagues being fully professional players. I think Scottish womens football still has quite a bit to go, we definitely are a few years behind but I think personally we are on the right track. I think it’s just going to take a bit more time but we are on an upwards hill and heading in the right direction.”


As more companies realise the talent and the interest in women’s football, more will invest and help the women’s football industry become more known and well respected by fans of men’s football and those involved in the male football industry. Laura said:

“With the right investments, it just shows what level women’s football can reach. It heavily relies on investments into the women’s game, but I also understand that you can’t just rely on investments if the performances, work ethic, and ability of the players isn’t on show. If we don’t give, how are we meant to get? So it is up to the players to put on a show and expose women’s football in a greater light in order to gain these investments, and if that continues to happen across the world, and especially in Scotland, it can only continue to grow.”


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