When it comes to women’s sports, the critics will always like to point out their differences from the men’s games. Oftentimes, these criticism come from hidden and conservative or misogynistic agendas.
However, in many sports, women play under slightly different circumstances or rules. For example, in the WNBA, they use a smaller ball than the men in the NBA. Or in the professional Grand Slam tennis circuit, the women play for three sets while the men play for 5 sets. And of course, the women are paid far less, but that is more of an economic issue.
Differences like these may be a result of the grip of a globalized paternal society. But they may also be attempts to ameliorate the differences in gender-based physiology.
For example, the world record in the men’s 100m dash is held by Usain Bolt at 9.58s. While the women’s 100m dash record is held by Florence Griffith-Joyner at 10.49s. That difference of nearly a second is massive! A time of 10.49s for 100 in the men’s would not even sniff the final rounds of the Olympics.
Are Goals Smaller in Women’s Football?
The goals used in professional women’s football are the same size as used by their male counterparts. Those goalpost dimensions are 24 feet wide by eight feet high. Despite this, there has been continuing debate in the football world about the size of women’s goals.
The main argument for smaller goals comes down to the biological differences between men and women. It’s these differences that feed the hypothesized correlation between the increased amount of goals scored in the women’s game when compared to the men’s. Therefore, the story goes, if you decrease the goal size, you decrease the number of goals in women’s football.
The most obvious physical difference is the average height disparity between males and females. In the case of world-class athletes, the a significant distinction in elite level explosiveness and reaction times. This is mostly due to the difference in muscle size and muscle fibre types between elite male and female athletes.
Men vs Women Goalkeeper Height Differences
The average height of men is taller than that of women worldwide. That’s just a fact of genetics and human physiology. The average height of a goalkeeper in the English Premier League is 6ft 3in. In comparison, the average height of a goalkeeper in the Women’s Super League (WLS) is around 5ft 8in.
Should Women’s Football Have Smaller Goals?
Whether or not women should have smaller goals is still up in the air. One thing is for certain, it should be the players and their supporters who make that decision. And not those on the sidelines sniping with socio-political agendas.
The complaint about goalkeeping in women’s football comes to the perceived excessiveness of lopsided victories at the professional level. But this is and other playstyle discrepancies are most likely a result of the lack of technical abilities in the much newer women’s game compared to the men’s as discovered in a recent study.
The women’s game has come a long way and continues to grow. According to a report by the BBC in 2019, the three-year average for goals per game in the Women’s Super League was 3.05 per match. During the same time period, the average in the Premier League was 2.76 goals per match.
In the 2018 World Cup, the difference in goals was practically nil. The men scored 2.64 goals per match while the women scored 2.69 per match!
The debate on whether or not women’s football should have smaller goals depends on one’s aim and perspective. In other words, it’s in the eye of the beholder. Smaller goals could possibly “improve” the women’s game, but who would they be improving it for?
The best thing that can happen is a much more open and fair development of the women’s game. Only when facilities and opportunities are equal can critics fairly point out the need to tweak women’s football.