More than 17.5 million fans watched England's Lionesses lift the European Championship trophy this summer, breaking both audience and online records for all previous European women's tournaments. Recently, the team continued its winning streak and qualified as Group D leader with a 10-0 victory against Luxembourg for the 2023 World Cup. Both successes have led to an enormous increase in media coverage and national support. Can such success and support bring about lasting, fundamental change in women's sports?
It is expected that women's sports revenue in the UK will reach $1.4 billion by 2030, due to the growing popularity and greater visibility and followership of top female athletes. The growing popularity has been accompanied by greater public impact and more opportunities, including higher cash prizes, sponsorships, media coverage, and participation. However, the reality is that most men's comparable events are still more popular among sports fans. The next few years will be crucial for women's sports to narrow this gap.
Current Challenges for Women ahead
- Currently, there are several challenges that women in sports face. One of the main challenges is the gender pay gap and lack of financial support. Even though women have proven to be successful and popular in various sports, there is still a significant gap between the cash prizes and other types of financial support that they receive compared to men. This can make it difficult for women to professionally pursue sports and can limit their ability to compete at a high level.
- Another challenge is the lack of opportunities and discrimination in accessing sports. Women frequently have fewer opportunities to participate in sports and have less access to sports facilities and coaches. This can be especially true in certain countries and cultures where women's sports are not as valued or promoted.
- Additionally, there is a lack of media coverage and visibility for women's sports. Women's sports often do not receive as much media coverage as men's sports, making it difficult for women to gain exposure and recognition. This can also affect the ability of women's sports to attract sponsors and other financial support.
Interesting Changes to Watch in Women’s Sports in 2023
Changes to the Women's World Cup. The 2023 FIFA Women's Football World Cup, jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand, is expected to be the largest sporting event for women in history. As host, FIFA has the opportunity to advance gender equality. Steps have already been taken to unify both World Cups. For the first time, the rights to the men's and women's World Cups will be marketed separately, increasing the commercial potential of the women's tournament. Until now, these rights have been granted free of charge to the holder of the men's World Cup. Like the men's, the matches will be free to access, allowing for the potential to reach new and wider audiences. The tournament has also been expanded from 24 to 32 teams, making it equal to the men's tournament.
Ideas for Women to advance as leaders in international and regional sports organizations
- Increasing opportunities for women and girls to participate in sports at all levels, including providing access to facilities, coaching, and resources.
- Promoting gender equality and addressing issues such as the pay gap and lack of financial support for women in sports.
- Supporting the development and growth of women's sports leagues and tournaments.
- Increasing media coverage and visibility for women's sports, including through partnerships with media outlets and sponsors.
- Collaborating with national and international organizations to promote the inclusion and advancement of women in sports.