Since 1991, every 4 years, teams from across the world qualify to participate in a tournament, a whole month of non-stop matches of the most popular sport in the world: football (soccer). This year the tournament is held in France, with its opening game starting on June 7th.
Women’s football has come a long way since the first unofficial Women’s World Cup took place in 1970, after a group of Italian businessmen decided to stage international tournaments due to disinterest by, FIFA (the governing body of football). This year we are seeing the likes of debutants as Jamaica, the first Caribbean team to qualify for the World Cup, as well as the giants of America and Brazil. And ticket sales records being smashed in April, with “the opening match in the Parc de Princes and the semifinals and finals at the Stade de Lyon [being] sold out within 48 hours of going on sale.”
Although the ladies playing the beautiful game share their joy of being able to participate, the continuing gap between the men and women as well as the lack of resources and funding for women and girls are notable. The pay gap between national men’s and women’s teams are a constant discussion. This issue has led the US Women’s team to sue for equal pay. The issue of equality within the game has led to the absence of Norwegian soccer player Ada Hegerberg, the first female winner of the Ballon d’Or, from the tournament, which “casts a shadow on the tournament.” The re-emergence of the women’s team in Jamaica began with the actions of Cedella Marley, the daughter of Bob Marley, who spoke up and financially assisted the team following funding cuts. All these instances provide a window into the issues that women continue to endure as the game grows around the world.
“Raised from $15 million in 2015 to $30 million, the overall prize fund has doubled since 2015, but for the 2018 men’s World Cup it was $400 million, with winners France taking home $38 million.”
As the game continues to grow at the club and international levels, we are seeing stadiums being filled out, and media providing more coverage on female football players and the game, this World Cup signals another milestone. Increase in attention and love of the women’s game gives hope in cementing women’s football in the world.
“‘Women national team players around the world should receive equal treatment to their male national team counterparts; this should include their travel and accommodation as well as their medical treatment and financial compensation,’ said world players’ union FIFPro earlier this week.”
 Caroline Chapman, “Women’s World Cup: England and Argentina players reunited in chance encounter – 48 years on,” BBC, June 15, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/48650001.
 Aimee Lewis, “Women’s World Cup 2019: The most important in history,” CNN, June 7, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/06/football/womens-world-cup-2019-equality-preview-wwc-spt-intl/index.html.