For years, women’s football has been completely overshadowed by the men’s game in all aspects of the sport.
The gap in equality between the two sexes in football for both earnings and coverage is the largest between any other sport, as underlined by a study done by the BBC.
But with a whole new world of opportunities and participation for women, including a history-breaking appearance on the video game FIFA, there has never been a better time for women in football.
Speaking exclusively to VAVEL, Sunderland Ladies striker Beth Mead explained how far women’s football has come.
“Women's football has come such a long way since I first started my career, we are getting more media interest, which is great,” said Beth. “It’s starting to show even at club level, more and more people come to our games and they are enjoying coming and watching and getting involved.
“I first started playing football in an all boy’s team in Middlesbrough as there weren’t many opportunities or girls team in my area, but that’s much different now, there’s so many girls teams, which really benefits the younger generation.
“Even 10 years ago, there weren't many women footballers in the media to look up to. I’m a Manchester United fan, so growing up I looked up to players like David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes but I think as the game grows, girls will now look up to women players too because they are present in the media.
“More could be done to expose us, for example increasing the coverage on TV, radio and media. Social media has been important too, it has been a key tool to advertising the women's game but now we are on the FIFA that speaks volumes and I am positive it will continue to grow.”
Now playing in the Women’s Super League 1 (WSL1) following an impressive promotion from Super League 2, Sunderland Ladies sit fourth in the table with aspirations to maintain their role as one of England’s best ladies teams.
“We want to stay in WSL1 and develop as a team, this is our main aim to stay in the women's top flight and compete for as much as we can,” she told VAVEL: “I think this league is completely different, the best players from all over the world are in this league which makes it so much harder but that only helps me as a player and us as a team to improve.”
Currently Sunderland’s top scorer with an impressive four goals in six games already, Beth has also impressed at Youth International level, suggesting this prolific young striker has a very bright future ahead of her.
“I want to hopefully continue scoring goals and just score as many as I can. The girls have been great in the team, they’ve provided me with assists and support to score goals.
“As any young footballer dreams of, my main aim is to get selected to play for England senior team and I will continue to work hard and try achieve this in the long run.”
Breaking into the senior team would be a great achievement for any young player now, especially as the current squad continues to make their country proud.
Yesterday, for the first time in history, England women progressed through to the Quarter-Finals on the world’s biggest stage as they beat Norway in the 2015 Women's World Cup.
So far, this prestigious tournament has showcased some unbelievable talent, which has only benefitted the reputation and exposure of women’s football.
Beth added: “I think a standard has been set by Germany national team, they have been outstanding this tournament and it just shows that the women's World Cup can be just as entertaining as the men's.”
VAVEL would like to thank Beth for taking time out of her schedule, whilst wishing her all the best to her for the future. Make sure you follow Beth Mead on Twitter, giving her, and women's sport the following it deserves.