Sunday

22nd May 2022

Stakeholder

A new strategy to promote gender equality through football

  • Referee Edina Alves Batista during the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018 Group A match between Ghana and New Zealand at the Stade Guy-Piriou (Photo: Getty Images)

In July last year, over half the world's population tuned in to see France beat Croatia in Moscow to be crowned the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ champions.

Twelve months on, and France will once again be the centre of attention as it is all set to host the FIFA Women's World Cup 2019™, women's football flagship tournament.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Referee Claudia Umpiérrez and her team of match officials prior to the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018 semi-final between England and Japan at the Stade de la Rabine (Photo: Getty Images)

Women's football has grown steadily in recent years with record levels of investment in women's football projects contributing to the creation of new leagues and competitions and increasing participation.

The professionalisation of the game means that female players are increasingly able to earn money playing the game they love, and since the introduction of the FIFA Women's World Cup™ in 1991 and the subsequent launch of U-20 and U-17 tournaments, the level of play has improved dramatically, media attention has increased exponentially, and the game has gained popularity.

The 2015 edition of the FIFA Women's World Cup™ in Canada drew unprecedented interest: more than 750 million fans from all around the world tuned in to watch the tournament on TV and 1.35 million spectators bought tickets to watch it in the stadiums.

The event created nearly half a billion dollars of economic activity in the host country, and the USA v. Japan final was the most watched football match in US history.

Seven matches during the tournament attracted crowds of 50,000 spectators and a total of nine billion impressions were recorded on Twitter.

Despite this competitive and commercial success, football has in the past too often overlooked girls and women.

Years of institutional neglect and a lack of investment have prevented girls and women from playing the game and assuming roles in technical, administrative and governance functions.

Recognising that the passion for women's football and its potential offers vast untapped opportunities, FIFA is committed to reaching an ambitious goal: by 2026, the number of women's footballers is to be doubled from 30 million to 60 million players worldwide.

The launch of the FIFA Women's Football Strategy in October 2018 charts the course for how world football's governing body will work with its stakeholders to take concrete steps to empower girls and women, make football accessible to all, and fight gender discrimination.

"Our objective is to grow the game, to get more girls involved in it earlier, to keep more women in the game longer and to further leverage the empowerment of women and the societal benefits of football.

By harnessing the power of the game and its competitions, we can highlight football's positive impact on women and girls all around the world," says FIFA's chief women's football officer, Sarai Bareman.

In 2016, the FIFA Congress voted unanimously to strengthen the women's game and bring it into the mainstream. It approved landmark decisions, and FIFA went on to appoint its first female secretary general, create a dedicated women's football division, and commit funds to incentivise investment at member association level.

Although these changes were significant, the challenges that lie ahead are still great.

The FIFA women's football strategy aims to strengthen football's ability to impact the lives of women and girls around the world, leverage the power of FIFA competitions and events to address social issues faced by women and girls, educate and inspire female players, and support programmes that aim to empower girls through football.

Case study: Women's football superheroes

In February 2019, FIFA launched its #LegendsAssemble campaign which saw some of the biggest names in football come together as a 23-strong FIFA Legends squad of superheroes on a mission to promote the FIFA Women's World Cup 2019™ and women's football in general.

The legends were selected for their superhuman qualities and unshakeable commitment on and off the pitch.

Each one overcame obstacles in the face of adversity, and as part of the campaign and the wider FIFA #DareToShine movement, they will be encouraging women and girls to push boundaries to succeed in all areas of life.

Find out more here.

FIFA infographic (Photo: FIFA)

Disclaimer

This article is sponsored by a third party. All opinions in this article reflect the views of the author and not of EUobserver.

Green stadiums at the 2018 FIFA World Cup

By the time the tournament kicks off on 14 June, all twelve stadiums will all have undergone a standards certification process for sustainable buildings.

Recycling at the FIFA World Cup in Russia

With this year's FIFA World Cup in Russia fast approaching, the impact of major sports events on society and the environment is an important topic in the public discourse.

Opinion

Football's 'Super League' - an own-goal for EU soft power

The global dominance of European football is a cultural asset contributing to Europe's 'soft power' by cultivating an international fanbase for top clubs. But European values of free speech get lost in pursuit of pleasing autocratic regimes gatekeeping their markets.

Opinion

Why Europe should stop worrying about 'sportswashing'

The UAE's international reputation is steadily being shredded by its own leadership, in moves so blatant that no amount of sporting spin can hide them. Like the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Russia, China will also discover that sportswashing never works.

EU, wake up! Don't leave West Balkans to Russia or China

Russia's attack on Ukraine and European values must remind us how important the enlargement process is, if properly conducted, as a motor for democracy, freedom, peace, the rule of law and prosperity, write six S&D MEPs.

Dialogue and action – Nordic cooperation and view on COP26

Nordic countries launched several initiatives at the COP26 climate conference which will have a real impact on the ground. Nordic and UK pension funds are to invest billions in clean energy and climate initiatives. Greenland has joined the Paris Agreement.

News in Brief

  1. UK to send 'hundreds' of migrants to Rwanda each year
  2. Norwegian knife attacks were domestic dispute
  3. Sweden hits back at Turkey's 'disinformation' in Nato bid
  4. Germany's Schröder gives up one of two Russia jobs
  5. G7 countries pledge €18bn in financial aid for Ukraine
  6. Italian unions strike in protest over military aid for Ukraine
  7. Russia cuts gas supply to Finland
  8. Half of Gazprom's clients have opened rouble accounts

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. What Europe still needs to do to save its bees
  2. Remembering Falcone: How Italy almost became a narco-state
  3. Economic worries and Hungary on the spot Next WEEK
  4. MEPs urge sanctioning the likes of ex-chancellor Schröder
  5. MEPs call for a more forceful EU response to Kremlin gas cut
  6. Catalan leader slams Pegasus use: 'Perhaps I'm still spied on'
  7. More EU teams needed to prosecute Ukraine war crimes
  8. French EU presidency struggling on asylum reforms

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us