Picture of a soccer ball

Women's World Cup

The first recorded soccer match that involved women was in 1628. The first unofficial women's world cup occurred in Italy in 1970. In 1991, FIFA held "The First FIFA World Championship for Women" where games were only 80 minutes. It wasn't until 1995 that the first official, FIFA-sponsored Women's World Cup happened. Over the past 30 years, women's soccer has grown in numbers and popularity. Yet women's soccer players are still treated unequally to their male counterparts. They receive less pay, less support, and less prize money.

To recognize the 2023 Women's World Cup, the National Women's History Museum has put together the following resource page. Included on this page are links to NWHM content on women's soccer and women in sports as well as links to external sources to learn more.

"It takes a belief, it takes a determination, and it takes hard work. It takes a trust and it takes a vulnerability with each other to show up in that way, and to be able to kind of lay it out all on the line all the time."

Megan Rapinoe
U.S. National Women's Team and soccer star

History of the Women's World Cup

The following links will lead you to great overview histories of women in soccer from external sources:

Pay Equity and the Women's Soccer

The following links will lead you to great overviews of the ongoing push for pay equity, equal support, and equal facilities in women's soccer, particularly with the U.S. Women's National Team:

  • There are two documentaries on HBO related to women’s soccer: “LFG: Equal Play. Equal Pay” (about the US women’s team’s search for pay equity) and “Angel City” about the LA women’s soccer team.
  • Megan Rapinoe gave an interview to NPR's Fresh Air about the ongoing fight for pay equity.
  • The BBC wrote an article on women's unequal treatment in World Cup qualifiers in June 2023 and The Conversation has an article on pay inequity.
This chart shows total prize money awarded at soccer World Cups by FIFA. Courtesy of Statista.


You can find out more about the U.S. Women's Soccer Team competing  in the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup in this article from Time Magazine.

NWHM has programming on women in sports for on-demand viewing!