Beyond imitators of men

Nov 25, 2021

EDU Resources

Do pioneers of football have an impact on social change?

In our daily life, we encounter many obstacles and hardships on our path to make our dreams come true. But for some people, that path is even harder. There are always people who are marginalized or face obstacles just due to their socio-economic situation, physical appearance, colour of their skin, gender and many other labels people put on them.

Some people struggle to find their place in society, their endeavour to do something different is quite often crushed by socially-rooted norms and the status quo. Not too many dare to attempt to  make a positive impact. For instance, for a long time, women could not play football. They had to fight to have this right. For too long, football was considered a masculine sport. A sport to show virility, and very much incompatible with the social image of women. There was a special role for women, and football was not considered to be suited for them. Fortunately, some women stood up and took on the whole world.

In this article:


Lucy Bronze chasing the ball (Photo: Dominique Mallen, WikiCommons).

Lucy Bronze chasing the ball (Photo: Dominique Mallen, WikiCommons).

Understanding gender stereotypes through the lens of football

In the activity developed by Jakob Fihl-Jensen, students will delve into a world full of controversies. The students will be able to learn about gender stereotypes and what is the impact of these stereotypes on the lives of women in sports, mainly football. Understanding gender stereotypes will help students think deeply about historical change and the obstacles of gender stereotypes. There will be quotes on how women and football were perceived throughout time and how the perception evolved with time.

In this activity, students will look into the story of Lucy Bronze, a female football player who made it to the top and became a world-beater. The trials and tribulation that she circumvented made her a hero. Students will get acquainted with her interview and will be incentivized to share their views on gender stereotypes in our society.

Do pioneers of football have an impact on social change?

The students will be presented with quotes about women in football. Based on these quotes, they will be able to visualize and reflect on how gender was and  is perceived in society by different social groups. Furthermore, the students will get to know a few ‘pioneers of football and gender’. They will navigate freely the ‘Football makes history’ website and try to identify outstanding figures that had a salient impact on social change. They will be asked to think about how these pioneers changed their perspective and help to combat gender stereotypes. Students will work in groups, discuss and share their own experiences.

What will students learn from this activity?

These learning activities aim to promote gender inclusion and remove gender stereotypes. To put it bluntly, using Lucy Bronze’s words ‘If you want to get rid of any discrimination you have to really go to the heart of it and it can’t be about doing things because they look nice or enhance somebody’s reputation’’

  • learn about gender stereotypes;
  • analyse how the role of women has changed through time; 
  • discuss whether  pioneers fighting gender stereotypes changed and brought positive impact;
  • work in groups and discuss how to understand and tackle the persistent gender stereotypes in societies.


Great Britain women's Olympic football team (Photo: Gary Howden, WikiCommons).

Great Britain women’s Olympic football team (Photo: Gary Howden, WikiCommons).

Curious to learn more about gender stereotypes and discrimination

If you are curious to further explore the issue of gender stereotypes and discrimination in football please use the following resources and materials: 

You can find this activity on Historiana website

To further learn about women’s struggle for equality and football please click here

To read Lucy Bronze’s interview please click here

To gain more insight on historic inequalities within Women’s Football please check the link here

If you are eager to have a further grasp on women football, please do not hesitate to surf the Football makes history website for more content on this matter.

Article Tags:   discrimination  |   every-day life  |   gender history  |   inclusion  |   teaching

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