With the Fifa Women’s World Cup getting ready to kick off in France, Google Arts & Culture is working to tell the stories of the times that women were banned from playing soccer — because when Google tried to compile a history of women’s soccer, the history barely existed.
Between 1921-1979, women’s soccer was banned at varying times in many countries around the world: the UK, Brazil, Germany and France, to name a few. The reasons for the bans varied. Some people believed far-out notions like it could make women infertile, it would masculinize women, it was against their nature and other non-truths. However, it didn’t stop women from playing. They played on in secrecy – leading to many historical gaps in women’s soccer.
A new museum is taking its name from the term that came with these bans. For years, women were considered “off sides” in soccer – a term used during match play, but that also meant to insinuate that women were in an “irregular position on the pitch.” In other words, they weren’t allowed. Now Google is calling on the public to help fill in the gaps of the historical periods of women’s soccer that are missing.
The Offside Museum is a digital museum at Google Arts & Culture that is working to collect the stories and portray the years of the women’s soccer ban in each country. In essence, the world’s largest crowdsourced search for the undocumented history of women’s soccer.
Starting May 30, anyone can visit offsidemuseum.com to digitally submit their information, photos and stories. On June 24 Google will unveil The Offside Museum on its Arts & Culture platform, during the month of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
In addition, to further tell the story of women being “off sides,” Google has created a film in conjunction with the creation of The Offside Museum. The film features pioneer Léa Campos – the first woman to ever be a referee and who was arrested 15 times during the women’s soccer prohibition.
The Offside Museum was created by Google in partnership with AKQA Brazil. Google is spreading the message through the film, an OOH campaign, print and social to help curate the assets for the exhibit.