Why women's football is more popular than ever
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The FIFA Women's World Cup, currently being played here in France, is seeing record viewership. In France alone, ten million people watched the opening game on TV, the biggest audience for a women's game ever. Globally, one billion people are expected to tune in to at least some of the matches. We spoke to Rebecca Smith about why women's football is proving so popular. She is Global Executive Director of the Women's Game at COPA90 and a former New Zealand captain.
Interest in the women's game has certainly increased - but that’s not necessarily the case for the players' pay. In general, it’s still a small fraction of that of their male counterparts. And overall, many say that in terms of the respect they get, it’s simply not a level playing field. Norway's Ada Hegerberg, who was awarded the Ballon d’Or, is boycotting the tournament because of this.
Rebecca Smith, a former New Zealand captain, two-time Olympian and current promotor of the female version of the sport, says the increase in popularity of the game is due to the increase in skills on the pitch. Higher pay, she tells us, will come with the rise in demand from advertising and sponsors. But the real challenge is to get more time and resources invested to give all women the chance to play.