The FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ (WWC) has come to an end. Like many people, I am reflecting on this very special and unique moment in history that I feel privileged to have both witnessed, and contributed to in a small way.
The FIFAWWC has turned attitudes towards womens sport on its head in this country, and hopefully other parts of the world, which will have a lasting legacy. As I said in a recent radio interview, I feel like this is the first day of the new world! This WWC has set the benchmark, and men’s sport, and men in sport, have a lot to learn from this WWC.
Also read: Ex-Matilda Moya Dodd and Catherine Ordway on FIFA Gender Equality and Women’s World Cup
In July 2018, I asked my Masters of Sport Management students to prepare a risk analysis on the Football Australia (FA) Bid for the WWC 2023. Noting that FIFA had not even released the Bid criteria for the WWC at that late stage, we used the criteria for the Men’s World Cup and brought in lawyer and ex-Matilda, Tal Karp to present to the class on the strengths and weakness, threats and opportunities as she saw them (prior to NZ joining as co-host).
Astonishingly, given what we have seen transpire, every group analysis concluded that FA should NOT bid as the financial risk was too great – primarily because the sponsors, broadcasters and fans would have insufficient time to leverage their support for the WWC. Fast forward 5 years, and we have seen dreams fulfilled, every record broken and every negative pre-conception shattered.
Yet, FIFA has been slow on the uptake – and has still not announced the 2027 WWC host nation to allow the momentum of the brilliant hosting efforts by AUS and NZ to be surpassed. Why wouldn’t FIFA use the opportunity of the closing ceremony to celebrate the continuation of the tradition that began in 1989?
During the WWC, I was lucky enough to be inside the stadium for 6 matches (including 3 Matildas games), attended 8 events/ conferences (4 of which I presented at), had a book chapter AND an article for The Conversation published and did 9 WWC radio/ newspaper interviews. It was a thrill to meet gender equality icon, Billy Jean King in Sydney. I was also privileged to attend the Gender Equality Symposium in Brisbane hosted by Senator Penny Wong and Minister Anika Wells MP. Inspiring forums where I was able to finally meet Madison de Rozario OAM and the Afghan Women’s Football team, led by the formidable, Khalida Popal.
I passionately believe that women’s stories about their journeys and successes in sport need to be brought to mainstream attention, and the WWC provided the platform to amplify that message. It was an extraordinary event that brought footballing and non-football people together. It was such joy to be able to connect with people across the globe, reconnect with friends and colleagues, and meet people F2F that I otherwise only knew online.
We clearly have more work to do, and we need to use this momentum to create more change – faster, so that the next generation of girls AND boys can enjoy a fairer and more equitable world!
- Re: the FIFA governance reform in 2016, please read my book chapter with the irrepressible @Moya Dodd Contextualising and chronicling the gender equality provisions in FIFA's 2016 governance reforms, in Adam Beissel, Verity Postlethwaite, Andrew Grainger & Julie E. Brice (eds.). The 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup: Politics, Representation, and Management, Routledge ISBN 9781032459035
- Re: the Football Australia governance process I worked on with Women Onside in 2017-8 was outlined here: Ordway, C. (2023). Gender Equality Achieved Through Crisis: Football Federation of Australia (now FA), International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics (IJSPP), 15(2) pp289-307 https://doi.org/10.1080/19406940.2023.2188241
- Re: calling for pay parity to reduce integrity threats: How do we keep women’s football clean? Start paying players a fair wage, The Conversation, 28 July 2023
This article first appeared on LinkedIn HERE
- Riding the wave: where to next for the Women's World Cup?, ABC Radio Canberra, 21 Aug 2023
- What will the Matildas' real legacy be after their FIFA Women's World Cup run? Canberra Times, 18 Aug 2023
- Female umpires encountering a culture of abuse, misogyny, BroadAgenda, 2 Aug 2023
- What the women’s World Cup says about gender equality?(with Heather Reid)
- How to keep women's elite sport free of controversy Radio CBR, 1 Aug 2023
- In the Spirit of the Game: Catherine Ordway on Inequality in Women’s Football, Radio 2ser, 31 July 2023,
- David Reilly, FIFAWWC pay parity and integrity, Sunday Afternoon, ABC Radio National, 30 July·
- ACT women impacting the World (Cup) from our own backyard, RiotACT, 24 July