Too many Scottish clubs view women's football as a "tick box" exercise, worries former Dundee United boss Graeme Hart.
United sacked Hart earlier this month and have since dropped two places to 11th in the SWPL.
And now he is calling for more investment to help drive up standards and prevent a bigger gap opening up between the top and bottom sides.
"There needs to be more teams actually buying into it," he said.
"Too many clubs have been getting away with not doing enough, not supporting their female teams enough.
"I think a lot of the bigger clubs have just been using the women's team as a tick box, but they're now getting forced to take it seriously.
"Hopefully, the trajectory the league is on, clubs will invest. It's going to be a catch-22 situation where if you don't do it you're going to get left behind."
Hart was relieved of his duties at United after their 4-1 defeat to bottom-of-the-table Hamilton Academical and subsequent loss to Hibernian.
United now sit in the relegation play-off spot, only one point in front of Accies, and two points behind Spartans having been on the wrong end of a 6-0 hammering from Jack Beesley's side.
"The main reason was that they weren't happy with results and performances," said Hart.
"We had the lowest budget in the league and I was told the goal was to stay in the league.
"When we parted ways, we were sitting ninth in the league, having used seven different goalies.
"I don't really know what else the club expect or want but they just seem to have a thing that because they're Dundee United they're a bigger club than Hamilton, Spartans and Montrose and they should easily be finishing above them."