Why You Should Watch the Women’s World Cup

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Why You Should Watch the Women’s World Cup

The United State’s Women’s National Team wins the 2015 World Cup. Creative Commons image: Elaine Thompson on Creative Commons.

The United State’s Women’s National Team wins the 2015 World Cup. Creative Commons image: Elaine Thompson on Creative Commons.

The United State’s Women’s National Team wins the 2015 World Cup. Creative Commons image: Elaine Thompson on Creative Commons.

The United State’s Women’s National Team wins the 2015 World Cup. Creative Commons image: Elaine Thompson on Creative Commons.

Stella El-Fishawy, Staff Writer

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Are you planning on watching the Women’s World Cup this summer? You should be and here’s why.

The Women’s World Cup has always been plagued by a lack of gender equality in terms of prize money and facilities. In 2015, the women’s USA national team received $5 million for winning, which was dwarfed by the $38 million that the men’s French national team took home in 2018. Yet, over 25 million people watched the women’s championship game — the largest ever viewing of American soccer, male or female, according to The New York Times.  

The first reason you should watch the World Cup is that federations and clubs around the world have started to pour money into the women’s game, striving to create pro leagues that will enable women to make a living playing soccer. With that international growth, the USA is expected to face stiffer competition and therefore an even more entertaining competition. So, if the women’s game is competitive and entertaining then why is it that sports media isn’t covering women’s soccer. ESPN’s “Sports Center” dedicated 2 percent of its on-air time to covering women’s sports in 2015, and if you turn on your TV it is highly unlikely that you will come across a women’s soccer game, except for during the World Cup according to The Atlantic. If more people have easy viewing access to women’s soccer and more people start to follow and watch the game, it will help close the pay gap between men and women’s sports.

What makes it worse is that the international governing body of soccer, FIFA, barely promotes women’s soccer. In 2018, for the Men’s World Cup in Russia, there were TV advertisements, billboards, and promotions on various platforms; however, for this year’s World Cup, I have barely seen a single advertisement. And, if I wasn’t such a strong supporter and follower of women’s soccer I would have no idea that the World Cup is happening. The truth is that women’s soccer is incredibly entertaining and filled with the same upsets, tears, heartbreaks, and victories as the men game.

So, if the women’s team performs significantly better than the men’s team, who failed to even qualify for the World Cup in 2018, why is it that the women’s game is constantly treated as a lesser version of the same sport? Do people just not watch the women’s game simply because it’s women playing the game instead of men? The answers to these questions are not black and white, however, solving these questions directly relate back to the lack of coverage and advertisement women’s sports get in the media and more people broadening their definition of sports entertainment.  

The second reason why you should watch the World Cup is to help close the pay gap between men and women’s sports. The sport’s ridiculous gender wage gap is highlighted in the fact that Neymar Jr. made roughly the same amount of money as the combined salaries of the 1,693 women in leagues in France, Germany, England, the U.S., Sweden, Australia and Mexico, according to Forbes. Moreover, according to The Atlantic, in the US’s own professional leagues, the minimum salary of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) is $6,842 per year, whereas the minimum salary of the Major League Soccer (MLS) is $60,000 per year, which is still ridiculously small compared to the salaries of professional athletes in the MLB, NFL, or NBA, but at least is a substantial salary.

So, if you are looking for an entertaining sports playoff this summer and want to support equal pay and women’s sports, you should watch the 2019 Women’s World Cup.