Football is definitely the most popular sport in the world. If we just look at the fact that the World Cup in Qatar 2022 was watched by 5 billion people in one month, and the Olympic Games in Tokyo by 3 billion, it is clear why football is also called “the most popular secondary thing in the world”. Football is loved and followed by all generations, women no less than men. The question naturally arises, why is football one of the three sports (along with basketball and baseball) in which there is the greatest inequality in player pay, but also in participation and opportunities? Is it too much of a “male sport” and who determines that? Whether women play less attractively, watching the matches, one would not be able to tell. Since in men’s football, matches are often interrupted due to aggressive play and a lot more fouls (statistically, that’s how it is), women’s football has a big advantage here. Has the women’s fight for equality also affected football, it seems that it has and that it is starting to gain momentum, luckily for those true lovers of sport.
There is a noticeable increase in interest, but also in earnings from women’s football, since the World Cup in France in 2019. 1 billion people watched that competition. The final of the 2022 European Championship between England and Germany was watched by 365 million people. Interest in women’s football is on the rise and the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2023 is expected to surpass all expectations in terms of spectators, and therefore earnings.
Women in football are becoming increasingly visible not only as players and fans, but also as pundits, match officials, journalists and club workers. But this does not mean sexism and misogyny, which have been core characteristics of the so-called beautiful game for many years, have disappeared. 2/3 of women in football, according to one study, experienced some form of the aforementioned discrimination.
Simply increasing the visibility of women in football is not enough to end sexism and misogyny in among everyone. What we need to reach equality and justice on the pitch and beyond is a gender revolution. We need everyone involved, from players to managers, fans to sponsors, to take a clear and uncompromising stance against misogyny and help create a welcoming environment for women. This is not only important for women, it is also important for the sport itself. And as we have seen, football has the highest viewership in the world, so maybe it is not a bad idea for the revolution to start from there. Changing this mindset will take time, but it’s possible if we refuse to excuse anti-women attitudes.