IN DECEMBER 1921, the Football Association’s minutes deemed the game of football "quite unsuitable for females".

Although women's football had become extremely popular during the First World War, the FA said it should not be encouraged, and they outlawed it for the next 50 years.

It has taken a long time for women to rebuild a name for themselves in football, but with the success of The England women's national football team, The Lionesses, it is becoming less of a challenge by the day.

Women's Football Week is taking place across the country next week, and clubs like Colchester United are taking the opportunity to attract more females to the game.

The club has launched a programme for women only events, to give girls a chance to show off their skills.

Ben Elmer, Premier League Development Officer at Colchester United, said: "We did the programme last year but it was a lot smaller, it has propelled this year as we are delivering more girl's sessions, about five a week at different venues.

"I think there is less stigma around women playing football now, from our point of view the women's games are getting a lot more common.

"I think it's due to the professional women's games and the England women's team are doing really well, it's inspiring girls to want to play."

The England women's national football team has been governed by the Football Association since 1993.

The team has qualified for the FIFA Women's World Cup four times, reaching the quarter final stage in 1995, 2007, and 2011, and finishing third in 2015.

They reached the final of the UEFA Women's Championship in 1984 and 2009.

Through their Wildcats programme, the FA is now offering funding to professional clubs to encourage more women to get to the same level.

Rebecca Edwards, women and girls co-ordinator, added: "The programme is for girls aged five to 11, to get them involved in playing sport, not just football, and socialising and having fun.

"It's really positive move from the FA, to put on girls only sessions is a really big thing as they feel more involved in the game.

"They are not made to feel like they are the only girl in the team. There has been a lot more in the press about the Lionesses, it shows it's not just boys who play football."

The club also runs an under 10s Development Centre, which provides specialist training to up to 12 girls, aged between eight and 10.

Rebecca added: "We have seen a lot more girls coming through so we are holding trials for girls between six and 16 at the end of football week.

"They can see there is an opportunity for them to play. We also have a girls college programme for 16 to 19 year olds, and they train every day and play matches wile studying.

"The younger girls will be able to look up to them."

We do not need science to tell us that boys are playing football as soon as they have learnt to walk, however Rebecca said studies do show by the time girls are five years old, they are already two years behind boys when it comes to playing the sport.

Perhaps this is an exciting opportunity for those girls, as the club opens up opportunities for all age groups.

The list of events taking place is as follows:

- Monday: Wildcats Festival 5pm until 6pm

- Tuesday: Years 3 and 4 festival 10am until 1pm.

- Wednesday: Thurstable School football tournament 1pm until 4pm

Soccercise for women aged 16 plus and fun fitness session 5.30pm until 6.30pm

- Thursday: Years 5 and 6 festival 10am until 1pm

- Friday: Premier League girls secondary schools festival 11.30am until 2.30pm

Women's fun football session 4pm until 5pm

Girls development centre open trials 4pm until 5pm

All events are taking place at the Shrub End Community Sports Centre in Boadicea Way, with the exception of the development centre open trials which will take place at Weston Homes Community Stadium.

To find out more email or call 01206 755160.