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Women's Wednesday Football Focus Series

Women's History Month


Image taken from "History Makers" Exhibition.


In honour of Women’s History Month, we will be doing a series of blog posts called “Women’s Wednesday’s Football Focus Series,” where we will highlight the amazing achievements of female footballers. The Scottish Football Museum is honoured to have items relating to their successful careers, and we want to showcase these player’s incredible achievements. 

As Women's History Month unfolds, it's the perfect time to reflect on the remarkable journey of Scottish women in football. While the sport has historically been dominated by men, the rise of women's football in Scotland showcases a legacy of strength, resilience, and determination. From grassroots initiatives to professional leagues, Scottish women have defied odds, shattered stereotypes, and carved out a space of their own on the pitch. 

The origins of women's football in Scotland can be pinpointed to 1628 in Carstairs, a village in South Lanarkshire, where the earliest documented instance of women’s football took place. Contrary to common belief, women's football isn't a recent development but rather dates back at least 394 years. This fact is evidenced by a historical church record in which Reverend John Lindsay expressed disapproval of the game being played on Sundays, referring to the players' conduct as "insolent behavior."

Despite the challenges they faced, these trailblazers persisted, driven by their passion for the game and their desire for equality. In 1881, the first recorded women's football match in Scotland took place, setting the stage for generations of women to come. 

 Throughout the years, Scottish women's football continued to evolve, with more clubs and teams forming across the country. However, progress was slow, and women's football faced many setbacks, including bans and restrictions imposed by the Scottish Football Association. Despite these obstacles, Scottish women continued to play the game they loved, often organising matches and tournaments on their own terms. 

 The turning point for Scottish women's football came in 1972 with the establishment of formal leagues and governing bodies dedicated to women's football. The creation of the Scottish Women's Football Association (SWFA) in 1972 marked a significant milestone, providing women with the infrastructure and support needed to develop the sport at all levels. 


Image taken from "History Makers" Exhibition.

In recent years, Scottish women's football has experienced a surge in popularity, fueled by increased media coverage, investment, and grassroots initiatives. The success of the Scotland women's national team on the international stage has further raised the profile of women's football in the country, inspiring a new generation of players and fans.  

One of the most notable achievements in Scottish women's football came in 2019 when Scotland's women's national team qualified for the FIFA Women's World Cup for the first time in history. Their historic journey to the tournament captured the hearts of fans across the country and showcased the talent and determination of Scottish women in football.  

Today, women's football in Scotland continues to thrive, with more girls and women than ever before participating in the sport at all levels. From grassroots clubs to professional teams, Scottish women are making their mark on the footballing world, challenging stereotypes, and redefining what it means to be a female athlete.  

As we celebrate Women's History Month, let us take a moment to honour the contributions and achievements of Scottish women in football. Their resilience, passion, and dedication have paved the way for future generations, leaving a lasting legacy that will continue to inspire for years to come. 

By Megan Stamper - Curatorial Assistant

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