While reading our assigned book “In A League of Their Own”, by Gail Newsham, I couldn’t help but take extreme notice to how the Dick, Kerr Ladies Football Team was founded. The story of the team’s conception is quite incredible given the context of what was happening around the world. In 1914, England declared war on Germany. During this same year, the role of women in society would change forever. Prior to the war, women we not on the same social lever as men were. Women did not have the same rights, were paid less, and restricted to gender norms. But when there was a demand for labor to contribute to the war effort, women worked in factories and produced needed supplies to beat the Germans. Women working in factories was a great opportunity to be seen equal to men. Some of the jobs were extremely dangerous, like working in munitions factories.
In one of these munitions factories ran by Alfred Frankland. In his factory was a group of women who enjoyed playing soccer during their free time. To many, women playing soccer was unacceptable. Men thought it was too dangerous for women to play such a rigorous sport because of the risk of injury and damage to their fertility. However, women had disproven the gender boundaries by playing other sports and their contributions in the munitions factories. Alfred Frankland, from his office window, saw the women playing during their lunch break and encouraged them to start a team. Eventually, the Dick, Kerr Ladies Football team was established. They began playing games against other teams to raise money to go to local hospitals for wounded soldiers. In time, the Dick, Kerr Ladies Football team would become a household name and considered one of the best Women’s teams.
In my opinion it’s not what the ladies did on the pitch that made them special, but what they did off the field for women. The Dick, Kerr Football team broke gender norms and showed to society that women can play football at a high level. They success on the field gained the respect of many, most importantly men. Also, gave women something to be proud of. The team represented a societal change, like women’s right to vote. Given the circumstances, the Dick, Kerr Ladies football team was one of the most impactful and courageous group of their generation. They deserve all the praise Newsham’s book provides.