With over a million tickets sold, the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup hosted in New Zealand and Australia is on track to be the most attended women’s sporting event in history.
Cal State Fullerton assistant professor of kinesiology and World Cup expert, Julie Brice, is in New Zealand to witness the historic tournament starting on July 20 and expand on her research that examines how the World Cup impacts women and young girls’ participation in athletics.
Her recent study, “The World Cup Trilogy: An Analysis of Aotearoa New Zealand’s Leverage Strategies for the Women’s Cricket, Rugby and Football World Cups,” found that although large-scale women’s sporting events succeed at engaging fans, they don’t lead to an increase in young girls’ participation in sports because there are not enough equitable sports programs to support female athletes.
Brice said that women also experience significant barriers to physical activity, including socioeconomic factors and gender inequality between the amount of women and men’s sports leagues.
This year, she will continue this research to see if the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup produces tangible changes for women and young girls in sports in the hosting country of New Zealand, such as more leadership opportunities and increased enrollment in sports leagues.
Brice said: “This is an opportunity for people to experience how other countries promote women’s sports and see what we can do better in the U.S.
“We know that women are marginalized in physical culture. The next step is understanding that marginalization, so we can redefine social structures and create sporting opportunities that combat those barriers.”
Read more about Brice’s research.