The aftermath of the Women’s World Cup is always a great time to reflect on its great trifecta of beautiful sport, generally positive feelings of sportsmanship, and… the media storm around it. If you follow it at all, you’ve already seen the reactions and the statistics. The age-old question, “Why aren’t people interested in women’s sports?” was trotted out, there were missteps in publicity, there are charts upon charts comparing the paltry prize money at this Women’s World Cup (double that of 2011!) to the relatively astronomical amount of prize money awarded to the teams at the Men’s World Cup last year. In between celebratory praises for individual players and team accomplishments, there are calls for an end to the air of misogyny that always surrounds the Women’s World Cup.
Of course, sexism doesn’t just go away in the off years; and the issues in the WWC are symptoms of sexism in each individual federation. They are also a symptom of FIFA. At the top level, FIFA’s own history of sexism is pretty staggering, from egomaniac misogynist Sepp Blatter’s suggestion that women should wear tighter shorts in order to drum up interest to a recent article on US striker Alex Morgan that describes her as “easy on the eyes, with good looks,” to their mandatory “gender verification” tests, to the entire turf debacle in Canada. Also, the money. The money’s a huge problem, not just as an indication of how little FIFA officials care about the WWC, but also as an impact on the future of women’s soccer.
First, a breakdown. The U.S. received $2 million for winning the WWC this year. The total payout to all participating teams was $15 million, with $200,000 going to the teams that were knocked out in the group stage. Last year, World Cup winner Germany was awarded $35 million. The U.S. men’s team took home $9 million for making it to the Round of 16. Ghana, which finished last in its group and didn’t advance, received $8 million for participating. I bring up Ghana because during the group stage, its players threatened to strike over promised financial bonuses, and Ghana flew in the promised $3 million to Brazil so that they would show up to play against Portugal. Over 40 women from multiple countries filed a lawsuit against FIFA (some without their own country’s support) because they don’t have the power to threaten a strike over artificial turf, and Ghana’s men’s national team successfully threatened a strike for more money than the championship prize of the Women’s World Cup.
In a statement that should shock no one, FIFA doesn’t see anything wrong with this. FIFA official Jerome Valcke told The Guardian, “We played the [20th] men’s World Cup in 2014, when we are now playing the seventh women’s World Cup. We have still another  World Cups before potentially women should receive the same amount as men. The men waited until 2014 to receive as much money as they received.” And, after all, the World Cup brings in enough revenue to fund the Women’s World Cup (which turned a small profit in 2011), as well as Youth World Cups. But it’s not enough to look at just those numbers.
FIFA also spends more resources on men’s soccer. Of the $900 million it invests in promoting and supporting soccer programs annually, only 15% is allocated exclusively for women’s programs. It spends more money and time hyping the World Cup. In 2014, it spent $18 million on FIFA Fan Fests in Brazil, essentially massive parties where fans could watch matches for free. That’s an active investment in accessibility and gaining future followers that FIFA would never consider spending on women’s soccer. Heck, FIFA would much rather throw money at self-promotion — last year, it invested $27 million in a flattering documentary about itself, United Passions, which flopped at the box office.
Some say that the sexism of sports media is to blame. How can FIFA expect to make a profit or break even when people just aren’t interested in women’s sports and there’s no proof of profitability (as though interest and demand can be spun out of zero exposure or accessibility). This, I can say with statistical certainty, is complete bullshit. Somehow, in spite of the supposed lack of interest and the minuscule four percent of sports media coverage devoted to women’s sports, the US vs Japan final last Sunday was the most-watched soccer match on network television ever. Ever. Even more than the Germany vs Argentina men’s final from last year. And it only took the Women’s World Cup seven iterations to do it. It helped that the US was in the final, and that the final was in a convenient time zone for Americans, but could you imagine a world where so many national teams have the support and depth to compete at an international level that regardless of where the Women’s World Cup takes place and who is in the final, it’ll be convenient for a massive number of ardent fans to watch it live? That’s almost certainly the case for the World Cup, and the WWC just showed that it can put up equally impressive numbers.
The myth of disinterest and low economic potential in women’s sports comes up every four years, and every time people get tired of disputing it, but hopefully, with the success of this WWC, we’ll see this notion being left behind by the people in power in sports media. In the lead up to the final, Fox Sports announced that it would expand coverage with 30 more hours of programming, clearly seeing some potential worth investing in. Not that that lets FIFA off the hook. Capitalism is not a good reason to continue being sexist. Instead of setting an example for equality in payment and screentime like international tennis tournaments did after years of campaigning by the Women’s Tennis Association, FIFA used the status quo as an excuse to avoid even considering making a change. Only time (and new leadership) will tell whether it’ll finally let go of these outdated assumptions.
In the meantime, though, FIFA’s nominal payouts to and investment in the women’s game has repercussions on national women’s soccer federations, which slows down the development of their programs. Let’s circle back to Ghana’s men’s team from 2014. The result of the threatened strike was more of an example of individual nations taking their male players more seriously than their female players, but it was informed by FIFA’s decisions. Ghana was comfortable conceding to a $3 million payout because it knew it would receive at least $8 million at the end of the tournament. What happens with the remaining $5 million? There are coaches and support staff bonuses to be paid, sure, but beyond that, FIFA doesn’t really know. Ideally, it would stay in the federation, to help grow youth programs and bolster the national leagues. Again, the U.S. women’s team only received $2 million. How much will be left after player and coach bonuses? The team received a $1.5 million bonus from U.S. Soccer for winning the gold medal in the London Olympics, and assuming that the federation places equal or greater value on winning the Women’s World Cup, that leaves less than $500,000.
Hopefully, that money will go toward the women’s professional league, the National Women’s Soccer League. It needs as much help as it can get. In the years since the iconic 1999 WWC win, there have been two other attempts at starting a professional women’s league in the U.S., sparked by the interest that surrounds any big international tournament. The exposure is great! More young women are playing soccer than ever, and it looks like the rate will keep rising. Interest isn’t a problem. Retention is.
The reason that the NWSL is predicted to flourish where previous leagues like Women’s Professional Soccer and Women’s United Soccer Association failed is that it’s the most economically realistic, given the lack of media interest and small show of support from U.S. Soccer. The reality is that if you want to be a professional player in the NWSL, your salary ranges from $6,842 to $37,800. If a player is a member of the U.S. national team, U.S. Soccer pays their salary separately, but otherwise, the higher salaries go to international level players, and the lower salaries go to recent graduates who could grow into their athletic prime in the NWSL and provide a deep pool of talent for future U.S. national teams — if they weren’t expected to live on less that $7,000 a year in a major U.S. city.
At least U.S. players have a domestic option. Before the NWSL formed, many national team players went overseas to play for club teams in countries like France, Sweden, and Germany. In fact, Germany, which banned women’s soccer altogether from 1955 to 1970, has more FIFA-registered professional female soccer players than the U.S., a fact that Benjamin Morris at FiveThirtyEight can only vaguely explain with, “They take soccer more seriously.” Even though the NWSL routinely draws bigger crowds than the women’s games in Bundesliga, the German professional soccer league, it hasn’t been able to capitalize on it. The German federation does take soccer more seriously, and while their pay still isn’t great, it’s enough for young players to stay on and get better.
A complaint when it comes to the Women’s World Cup is that it’s routinely dominated by the same rich countries simply overpowering other teams, which is why they’re boring to watch, which is why they’ll never be worth airtime, which is why they’ll never make money, etc. But that’s changed immensely in the last decade. National federations of women’s soccer have been on the rise since 2000, with varying success. For example, Japan began revitalizing its program in 2002, was eliminated during group stage in the 2003 and 2007 Women’s World Cups, and finally saw its efforts start to pay off in 2011. Colombia didn’t embark on an organized program until 2006, and this year the women’s team pulled off a huge upset against heavily favored France during group stage. England’s women’s team, despite a 50-year federation ban on women’s soccer (because it became too popular in 1920) and a patriarchal national attitude, became the second-most successful English team of all time in the 2015 World Cup (the most successful was the men’s team that won the 1966 World Cup, during a time when, you guessed it, women were banned from playing).
The thing is, federations like U.S. Soccer have money. It can afford to keep national team members on its payroll without much help from Women’s World Cup winnings. It can afford to, and more importantly take the responsibility to, support the NWSL. That isn’t the case with other World Cup countries. Costa Rica, which has a rich, nigh-revolutionary history of women’s soccer, gives so little support to its women’s national team that the majority of the players have day jobs, even when they’re in training. Mexico’s women’s team was formed in the late 1960s against the wishes of the Mexican Football Federation (MFF), flourished, and then languished when the MFF and FIFA became involved. Now, though Mexico has thriving girl’s soccer programs (made up mostly of grassroots leagues and schools established by former players), the MFF leadership is out of touch and doesn’t invest much energy or time into developing that into a fully realized, competitive national team. There wasn’t even an official national-level league until 2007. Supporting and inspiring youth soccer is important, of course it is, but it’s also important to follow up and provide support in the transition to professional play. That’s where federations like Mexico’s and Costa Rica’s are lagging, and that’s where FIFA’s money could make a huge difference in elevating the Women’s World Cup, not only for the women who are playing, but also for the negligent officials.
It basically comes down to this: if you want competitive, high-quality play, the kind that draws the record numbers of viewers and subsequent lucrative sponsorships that you want, you can’t just wait for players to present it to you, fully-formed with built-in funding. You have to actually invest in and incentivize local or national organizations to put in the work to grow a fanbase. You have to be willing to see improvements and continue investing. If you want to capitalize on the interest and excitement that the Women’s World Cup always generates, you have to give that energy somewhere to go.
The hype from the Women’s World Cup has been great so far for the US league. Tickets are selling faster than ever, and Fox made a deal to broadcast ten of the matches left in the NWSL season. Most of the NWSL matches are shown live via Youtube, so if you’re like me and you don’t live near a team but still want to 1) watch soccer and 2) register your support for the league, this is an opportunity that we didn’t have two World Cups ago, when television networks still determined what games would be broadcast-accessible.
There’s always a surge of interest and support for women’s soccer around the World Cup. Here’s hoping that the people in charge will finally seize the opportunity and give it the consistent attention that it deserves.
“Capitalism is not a good reason to continue being sexist.”
yes!!! Thanks for the thoughtful coverage!
I came here to syy the same exact thing! Yess!! Thank you for this.
Thorough, in-depth, rage-inducing, and much appreciated article! So wish I lived less than a 2 hour drive from my closest pro team. I’ve only made it there twice for NWSL games, but both were fantastic. FYI, if you want to support a team but don’t live nearby, some let you donate tickets:
There will be a lot of work to do in a lot of these countries who don’t have the same resources as USA and Europe to develop their teams. Which is a shame because Mexico is highly skilled team but lacking support and resources. I wish Women’s futbol would be shown more often on tv =/
Everybody will hate me for this, but the number of viewers in the US is not representative of the entire world.
So it may be a record for your country, but it doesn’t mean anything to FIFA if you consider the numbers of men’s World Cup final around the world and also consider the numbers of women’s World Cup final around the world.
FIFA loves money more than anything in the world, so I don’t think this will change any time soon.
BTW, your men’s national team are a bunch of two-legged dogs, but they got 9 million dollars for they crappy work on 2014’s World Cup. $576 millions is the total number that FIFA distributed between the participant teams, I don’t know why everybody is showing such inaccurate numbers.
The real numbers are also offensive, because Germany got $35 millions for the championship.
Great article, and much needed! It’s so good to keeping talking about these things after the big event is over.
Thanks for this. I loved watching the USWNT, and I’d love to see more of them competing with other nations, plus seeing the players actually play in league. That FIFA rationalization that it took men more World Cups to get to this level is ridiculous and barely even worth engaging with when we’re seeing such a substantial pay gap in the here and now.
I definitely appreciate this article, as someone who knows nothing about sports, most talk about the Women’s World Cup went right over my head, but this explained the sexism/misogyny aspects so well.
You made me care deeply about a sports thing! Thank you!
Very much needed article.
This is such thoughtful and measured coverage of this topic, thank you for writing this!
Also if you need more reason to watch soccer, there are hella queers in the NWSL, including a couple who play for Houston who got married on Monday.
When I was little, a billion little girls had the Hamill haircut. Now, I can only hope, a million little lesbians will have the Rapinoe haircut.
So I had the idea that if they played the Men’s And Women’s cups together at the same time in the same country it could have an effect in reducing the inequality. The basis for the idea is in Tennis… the grand slams happen as one event even though there is a Men’s and Women’s final. Not saying there isn’t any income disparity in pro Tennis, but it’s not as stark as football/soccer. Based on my observations of tennis When the winners are crowned at the same time it makes it more embarrassing that the prize money is so different and over time guilts people into levelling it.. I also think it would draw more viewers to women’s games as networks are already clearing slots for football and fans are caught up in the excitement of the tournament. Also, especially for countries with a more successful women’s team, once their men get elminated people who might normally not even know the women’s cup is on would be more likely to keep watching when they are caught up in football fever.
I mean the Olympics is the same… and women’s events get broadcast.. I think it would be totally different if there was a separate men’s Olympics and a women’s Olympics… can you even imagine that?!
The stadiums are already there, infrastructure in place… it might take a little longer but could even be cheaper! Realistically though all the stadiums don’t have daily games so it might not even extend the tournament that much.
Not saying it would fix everything but I think its a step in the right direction.
yeah I was just thinking about this actually! wouldn’t that model make more sense? I understand that FIFA LOVES MONEY and so wants to spread out its coverage as much as possible, but showing 2x the matches could bring in 2x the money for them…
I’ve never understood the YEAR’S WAIT between the Men’s World Cup and Women’s World Cup–in other men/women championship situations (at least in the US), they often happen within a few weeks of each other or, like March Madness, AT THE SAME TIME. so would it be impossible for FIFA to combine them or is FIFA just sexist? oh, wait…
I’m personally in favor of the staggered men’s/women’s championships. As is, they already have to schedule multiple games at the same time during the world cup group stage, which means only one of those is televised. If they tried to do two at a time, I don’t think women’s games would get any attention, and would be even more of an afterthought for media coverage than they already are. Also, because it only happens every 4 years, it’s easier to build momentum off the previous year when there’s a tournament in more recent memory. I kind of wish they did world cups every 2 years, like the summer/winter Olympics.
Thanks for writing this! Stories of sexism in FIFA seemed to be getting drowned out in the US due to the World Cup Win. As a former college athlete this divide in male and female sports is all to common. Without Title XI, women programs would have been cute in favor of giving more programs to men. If we are following the numbers as you mentioned their is a demand/want for women’s soccer – but a lack of investment outside of the world cups seems to hinder that growth.
oh for SURE! it was really disheartening to see the steady uptick in youth soccer and then thinking about how hard it’d be for them to keep it up after college & Title XI protections.
Thanks for an excellent article!
It slays me how people always seem to complain about all of the hissy fits and acting that happens in men’s football, but when women don’t resort to that sort of thing to win penalties the excuse is ‘they’re not playing as hard.’
I think US soccer should throw more money at the consistent high performers- namely the women’s team.
word!! when i was watching the final i was wondering what the reaction would be if women’s teams started diving as much as the men’s teams do – the consensus was that people would just be all, “see? women!! too emotional and weak to play sports! i told ya!!”
basically it’s a lose-lose situation…
Great topic, great journalism; thanks!
Rly glad to hear that the team will get the grass field they deserve instead of artificial turf next time.
The international scene was heartbreaking and heartwarming — 50 year ban in England?!? Eff You! Mexican futbal grassroots teams can’t be kept down. <3 Costa Rica, rock on!
Excellent, smart article.
This was a very interesting read!
I’m still heartbroken that the Swedish team had such a rough time of it, but excited to see that women’s football has grown so much – I was able to catch live games in both Sweden and Germany, while a few years ago people wouldn’t have known there was a World Cup on. At this point, I feel like FIFA are the ones standing in the way of women’s football growing, not any lack of public interest.
great article! i had no idea the income/payout disparities between mens and womens soccer went so deep.
on a similar note, it was at times hella difficult to live stream games this year in comparison to last year’s WC. i felt like i had endless live streaming options whereas it was mostly fox sports’s teeeeerrible stream. i am guessing they weren’t prepared for such an immense viewership, because women’s sports.
Have you tried using a VPN? I use Tunnelbear & watch via the BBC. Super bonus: they have way better commentary. You do typically have to pay for a VPN, though.
I watched the Sochi olympics via the BBC and I had NO IDEA that the US seems to be the only country that does the sappy underdog personal stories about our atheletes. Like, they just talk about the sport? Crazy! I’ll never go back!
This was such a thoughtful and well researched article that touched on a lot of topics that have been floating in my head during/ after the World Cup, so thank you for wiring it!
Man, I love the USWNT- I watch them World Cup after World Cup and Olympics after Olympics since pretty much Mia Hamm back in ’99 when I was in 7th grade. I don’t do as well about watching the women’s soccer league, so I might make that a goal for the rest of summer.
But the intersection of sexism, capitalism, and cultural imperialism that is FIFA has almost ruined the sport for me more than once. I was positively sick to find out about the artificial turf that was literally burning players and goofs still wouldn’t switch to natural grass. And then all the stuff about payouts!!!!!! It’s heart wrenching.
Still, these women are awesome! I just wish that FIFA was the worst. You know?
So somehow, the my autocorrect changed FIFA to “goofs” at some point in my comments? But still, that kinda works, no? Good job autocorrect, for once you were in my favor.
I don’t even watch sports much but this sparked my interest and akh it was a great article and brought up so many important points about disparities in men’s vs. women’s teams
This year and all of your coverage of this is the only time I have EVER considered really watching sports.
What are you doing to me??
Yes this! After the WWC, there was a flood of posts on my FB threads about the pay gap, but then there were an equal amount of disheartening comments about how women’s sports were “boring to watch”:/ ugh.
I mean, often there’s a style disparity between men’s and women’s sports. Sometimes that disparity is a direct result of rule differences prohibiting as much contact in the women’s version, compared to the men’s (eg hockey and lacrosse). But sometimes it’s just different play styles–basketball tends to be more team-driven for women, while men’s teams tend to support one or two star players; women’s volleyball tends to have more rallies and ball placement (and therefore skill imo) than men’s who rely on strength/force to get the ball down. In gymnastics, the men tend to rely more on strength for doing their tricks, while women are expected to be more graceful.
And yo, I can see having a preference for some of these things–I tend to like men’s hockey a bit better than women’s because I like the increased body contact (but like, if women were ALLOWED to check at the same level and like a women’s hockey league was a thing, that’d be a different story), while women’s volleyball is FAR FAR superior to men’s, and I can go either way on basketball, and have no preference for tennis or soccer either.
But just dismissing all women’s sports as “boring to watch” UGH YOU ARE SO WRONG.
thanks for covering this.
Interesting article, and yeah Fifas love of money is vulgar in the extreme and only out grossed by the sexism. Support your local women’s team folks! We are lucky to have some matches televised on BT sport in England if you have it, so get it watched or head down to a match. Tickets for even major events start at only £3… Not a lot to spend but the support is so important.
So obviously it’s ridiculous that the men’s teams make so much more money than the women’s teams, but isn’t the amount that the men’s teams make ridiculous in and of itself? Rather than have teams of all genders make exorbitant amounts of money, I wish both teams made equal, slightly more reasonable, amounts of money. This might apply more to American professional sports teams than to international soccer, so I apologize if I’m misunderstanding the situation, but just wanted to share a thought that’s been nagging me.
We’re in a very similar situation in Australia.
Our men’s league is only 10 years old and it’s only the 4th most popular sport.
Things are getting a little better here but there are miles to go.
Our girls went the furthest any Australian team have ever gone in a world cup. Losing to Japan in the quarters. There was a lot of media interest and the games were watched by record viewers.
Basically now we just need to show up, we need to go the league and watch the games and demand better.
These girls work so hard and they are so inspirational and they deserve so much more than they get.
But also, I agree with the premise of this article.
My general feeling is: fuck you FIFA.
If you wanted to support the game, you have nothing stopping you.
Thanks for writing this! It was really informative!
Really interesting! I don’t follow sports, but following USWNT has been fascinating. Also on a separate but related note, I was out during most of the final game but I walked in right as Abby Wombach kissed her girlfriend on National TV and I really feel like the universe was there for me on that one
I’m feeling inspired to go to a local game!
They’re so much fun! Tucson just formed a local women’s team and I’m super excited about it.
I get so angry about the pay gap that exists in professional sports and how that affects the quality of our teams and how successful and “entertaining” women’s sports are that I can’t see straight. I am seriously enraged. And people don’t connect the two! They don’t understand! I try to explain it and it just seems to bounce off most people. Especially the men who like to argue about it, but that’s probably just because they like tearing down (strong, successful) women so much.
I have general aversion to any sport that can end in a 0-0 tie. That said, this at least me care about WWC in an activist sense.
I’m still not here for America’s team though, the utter lack of color turned me off before I even saw them play. I feel like being a more diverse team would also bring more fans,which would then give the team more cards to play when asking for more cash.
I enjoyed watching the US team play in the last couple of games, but agree it doesn’t seem like the most diverse team.
Didn’t Jurgen Klinsmann comment during his stint as US men’s coach that football in the US does not get the best athletes because it really is an expensive middle-upper class sport in most cases – hence the men’s team doesn’t do great for a country with the size and wealth of the US.
In the women’s game however, Title IX and relative financial support of the women’s game compared to the rest of the world keeps the US ahead despite probably not pulling on the full talent pool available.
YUP. I hate when people act like the women deserve less money because they supposedly aren’t as good as men or would be beaten by men’s teams. If you want better womens’ teams you need to invest the money and time and provide incentives to become a professional player.
I personally fell in love with women’s soccer during this world cup. I’ve always watched the men’s world cups, but I hadn’t watched WWC until this time around. My friend who is a woman who plays soccer told me she doesn’t care for the WWC because apparently so many players skill levels are so low and they make many mistakes that men wouldn’t make. She said that it’s because they don’t have enough people to play for the various countries. I think part of that is objectively true, but at the same time, I think if the skill level deficit really is the case, that it is a result of institutionalized misogyny (yet again), and a self-perpetuating cycle (involving the pay gap and other injustices).
TL;DR – The women’s world cup is very worth watching, and if there really is a disparity in skill between women and men, it has to do with institutionalized oppression of women and that professional women athletes don’t make enough money to be able to support themselves financially.
“…if there really is a disparity in skill between women and men, it has to do with institutionalized oppression of women and that professional women athletes don’t make enough money to be able to support themselves financially.”
I want to print this out and hand it to everyone who tries to argue that men’s sports are just “better”.
I’m not a huge sports watcher, but when I do I watch women’s sports and the totally completely ludicrous unfair treatment of women’s sports vs. men’s sports makes me want to PULL MY HAIR OUT.
Aside from that this whole article is really interesting and much more in depth than I expected (I loved the history of women’s soccer in other countries! WHO BANS A SPORT BECAUSE IT’S TOO POPULAR??)
I love this article so much.
I think even worse than the pay gap in the world cup though are those in the national leagues, which are arguably more important because interest in them can hold the public’s interest in women’s football more sustainably than one competition every four years. In Australia the men’s A-League have a team salary cap of $8 million, while the women’s W-League have a cap of $150,000 (which generally isn’t even reached; most teams pay salaries of $70,000 to be split among a whole team. High earners are those who make around $6000 a year, low earners might only make $1000). It can’t be argued that the difference is due to a disparity in skill either, because the A-League is THE WORST
I have loved watching the progress of the W League over the past few seasons (albeit really short, incomplete seasons). Now after the world cup we’re seeing more of our best players get contracts overseas, which is great and I’m happy for them, but I hope the local league can keep pulling up and getting stronger in their absence.
Very much on board with this article. One thing I’ve wondered about the US popularity of this and past world cups though, is how much of it do you think is parochial bandwagoning? And how does that impact on local popularity versus overall health of a women’s sport world wide? It seems like this never ending battle for national women’s sports groups trying to capitalise on success at a world event to boost local league interest – but little progress is made in the overall international sport health context.
I’ve wondered this in light of the Australian team too. After beating Brazil, they really hit the headlines going into their quarter final match against Japan. As much as I want to think it is 100% genuine interest in women’s football generally, I know it’s probably not. It is much more about people wanting to parochially back their team when they’re looking good. If the Matildas weren’t making the finals, or getting out of groups rounds, I unfortunately think they’d be pretty invisible. I suspect it would be the same in the US if the US team weren’t giving everyone an opportunity to cheer about being world champions. Thinking about basketball too – the Australian women’s team (in the context of extreme minimal women’s sport coverage) would be one of the better known national teams locally. Both sports would be two of the stronger local leagues (and by stronger I mean, not *completely* invisible). But if they fall a few more places in competitiveness internationally, I think the knock on effect to local leagues, interest etc could be strong they’ll become an afterthought. The US has a great safety net in many sports compared to the rest of the world thanks to Title IX, from a participation aspect.
I seems like women’s teams need to be amazingly successful to capture the attention of local media, otherwise, it’s not considered important enough. But not everyone can be the champion, so how does genuine interest get fostered? It happens in tennis, which is a clearly established and strong international women’s sport. Whereas, national men’s teams can be mediocre but still be covered ad nauseum.
Rambling, but I agree, a lot of the finger pointing for me is at the FIFAs and international associations of the world that don’t invest in the women’s game. That’s the kind of broad investment needed to grow the strength and genuine interest in the game world-wide to support it outside of the audience that just wants to cheer for their team cos they’re winning.
Can’t wait to say “capitalism is not a good reason to continue being sexist” in an argument.
Thank you for writing this. Now I don’t have to go on a long rant to the idiots I work with/am related to/are friends with who tried to defend this ridiculous gap in pay. I’m forwarding this to everybody and they can shove their lame ass arguments up their bums.
I immediately shared this with my sexist cousin on FB who claimed that the women got paid less simply because they were “not as good” …..
I know. I know. I should be celebrating the whole Women’s World Cup thing, and I’m trying. I promise you, babelets, I’m trying, but honestly, as a homo with not the faintest fleck of athleticism or team-mentality, I just don’t give an effffffff. Zzz
Yeah, the story of women’s football in the UK is weird stuff. But you can get a season ticket to see Arsenal Ladies for about £30, which is absolutely ridiculously cheap (like, cheaper than one ticket to see one single Arsenal (dude team) match), and their stadium is not that far from where I live, so hopefully we can get out there and see them play and support women’s football over here.
this was really interesting, thanks for doing all that research!!
here in germany, people are CRAZY for soccer, which makes it even sadder to see how women’s soccer is completely dismissed and ridiculed by most people. also the media coverage is really shitty.
in 1989, the german women’s soccer team won the european championship and as a prize the german national soccer association awarded them a coffee set. we’ve developed a bit, but unfortunately not too much :-(