Women’s World Cup and Global Politics


Women’s World Cup and Global Politics

Photo: Liondartois CC A SA 4.0

The Women's World Cup and Global Politics Project aims to advance critical understanding of the political significance of football through examining issues that surround the game’s quadrennial global showpiece, the FIFA World Cup.  The project is a platform for dialogue, discussion and research that fosters collaborative engagement throughout the BSIA network.

Background of the Women’s World Cup

Project Leads

Alanna Harman
Wilfrid Laurier University

Tim Elcombe
Wilfrid Laurier University

Project Leads

Alanna Harman
Wilfrid Laurier University

Tim Elcombe
Wilfrid Laurier University

Power, Politics, and Sport: Global Politics and Women’s World Cup Reports



Home Score Away Date
Spain1 - 0EnglandAug. 20

Match for 3rd place

Home Score Away Date
Sweden2 - 0AustraliaAug. 19


Home Score Away Date
Australia1 - 3EnglandAug. 16
Spain2 - 1SwedenAug. 15


Home Score Away Date
England2 - 1ColombiaAug. 12
Australia0 - 0FranceAug. 12
Japan1 - 2SwedenAug. 11
Spain2 - 1NetherlandsAug. 10

Round of 16

Home Score Away Match
Colombia1 - 0Jamaican56
France4 - 0Morocco55
England0 - 0Nigeria54
Australia2 - 0Denmark53
Sweden0 - 0USA52
Netherlands2 - 0South Africa51
Japan3 - 1Norway50
Switzerland1 - 5Spain49

National Profiles

Group A

Team Win Draw Loss Pts
New Zealand1110

New Zealand was first settled by Polynesians, however, with perceived threat from Charles de Thierry, a Frenchman, thirteen chiefs petitioned King William IV for formal protection. In 1835 thirty-four northern chiefs signed the declaration which was formally acknowledged by the Crown in 1836. The understanding of the declaration is controversial, it is suggested that James Busby a British resident viewed the declaration as a step towards making New Zealand a British possession. Whereas the chiefs viewed the declaration as a guarantee of their independence and a signal of a strengthening relationship with the British.  The subsequent Treaty of Waitangi signed in 1840 by the British Crown and about 540 Māori chiefs, the annexing of New Zealand was thought to “protect Māori, regulate British subjects and secure commercial interests". British sovereignty over New Zealand was declared on May 21, 1840 making New Zealand part of the British Empire. Today, New Zealand remains part of the Commonwealth and has the British monarch as their head of state.

As members of the British Empire New Zealand fought on Britain’s side in WW1. Following WW1 New Zealand signed the Treaty of Versailles. New Zealand also actively participated in WWII when then Prime Minister Michael Savage stated “where Britain goes, we go; where Britain stands, we stand”.

In 1947 New Zealand ratified the Statue of Westminster Adoption Act which made New Zealand independent of Britain. Following this New Zealand actively sought to develop diplomatic relations, in 1951 New Zealand signed the Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty (ANZUS). As a result of this New Zealand felt obligated to support America in the Korean War and Vietnam War.

Today, New Zealand is involved in several international organizations including but not limited to the United Nations (a founding member in 1945); World Trade Organization; World Bank; International Energy Agency; Pacific Islands Forum. New Zealand has several bi-lateral agreements with countries around the world and routinely engage in humanitarian aid. One of New Zealand’s greatest international relationships is with Australia the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (ANZCERTA, or the CER agreement) has been described as one of the most comprehensive bilateral free trade agreements. The close ties between New Zealand and Australia are highlighted in this Women’s World Cup in which both countries are acting as co-hosts.

Gender Equity

When the Electoral Bill was signed in 1893, New Zealand became the first self-governing nation in the world where women had the right to vote. In 2017, Jacinda Ardern become the country’s youngest prime minister, her tenure ended in January 2023. New Zealand may be viewed internationally as progressive when it comes to gender equity, UN Women has reported 91.7% of legal frameworks that promote, enforce and monitor gender equality under the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDG) are in place.  However, gender discrepancies still take place. Women and girls aged 10+ spend 18.1% of their time on unpaid care and domestic work, compared to 10.6% spent by men. Further, in 2022 it was reported that men earn on average 10% more than women in New Zealand. However, when it comes to the soccer pitch in 2018 the national soccer organization announced that it would guarantee financial parity between its men’s and women’s programs as well as equal travel accommodations. A similar feat was accomplished in April 2023 when the cabinet reached gender parity for the first time in New Zealand’s history. While New Zealand has consistently been making efforts towards gender equity the UN Women report also highlighted that only 32.8% of indicators needed to monitor the SDGs from a gender perspective were available. Without data the full context of gender equity in New Zealand today is difficult to gauge.

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Norway is well known for its Viking history, however, people began settling in Norway well before, after the first ice age ended in approximately 9000 BC. The well-known Viking Age was from approximately 800 AD to 1050 AD. The Viking Age is known for raiding various countries including Ireland, France, England, and Scotland, however, the Vikings also “created complex social institutions, oversaw the coming of Christianity to Scandinavia and left a major impact on European history through trade, colonization, and far-flung exploration”. The Viking Age came to end when they unsuccessfully attempted to conquer England.

Norway’s political alliances with other Scandinavian countries has a long and complicated history. In 1380 Olaf Haakonsoon inherited the thrones of both Norway and Denmark and created a union.  Seventeen years later the Kalmar Union was created between Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. Several different attempts of centralization among the three countries occurred throughout history, however, on May 17, 1814 Norway established constitution an event that is still celebrated today, Norwegian Constitution Day.

Today, Norway with other Nordic countries pursue shared interests through the Nordic Council.

Norway became a founding member of NATO in 1949 in order to align itself with other countries that shared its democratic values. Despite its small size Norway is an active on the international scene as a member of several organizations including but not limited to: International Monetary Fund, United Nations, the World Bank, and maintain a close relationship with the European Union through the European Economic Area Agreement and several other bilateral agreements including security policy issues.

Gender Equity

In 2002 Norway introduced the Gender Equality Act “aimed to promote equality and reduce discrimination in Norway”. In 2016 Norway was the first country to have a dedicated Gender Equality Ombud.  Norway’s leadership on gender equity saw them ranked second on gender parity in 2020. Norway’s progressive views on gender equity are shared with its Scandinavian neighbours as Iceland was ranked first, while Finland and Sweden were ranked third and fourth respectively. Norway’s leadership in gender equity is also present in sport when in 2017 Norway ensured that male and female soccer players would receive equal payment for representing Norway, this is believed to be the first equal compensation package for male and female national soccer athletes.

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The Philippines were claimed as a colony for the Spanish Empire in 1521 and lasted until the Philippine Revolution in 1989. The United State of America then fought Spain during the Spanish-American war and took possession of the Philippines. The impact of these historical events continues to influence the Philippines today there are many cultural similarities that are still shared today between the Philippines and Spain, and the USA and the Philippines continue to have strong diplomatic relations. The Philippines gained full independence under a US-style constitution in 1946.

The Philippines promotes free press and government censorship is not a concern, however, the Philippines is one of the most dangerous places to be a journalist. It has been reported that politicians will hire private militias to “silence journalists with complete impunity”.

Gender Equity

According to the World Bank “on several fronts, the Philippines is a best performer when it comes to gender equality in the East Asia and Pacific (EAP) region and even globally. In the latest Global Gender Gap report, the Philippines occupies 17th place, with 78.4% of its overall gender gap close to date”. The Philippines is ranked second in the region behind New Zealand. However, women’s participation in the work force remains low at just 49% in contrast to 76% of Filipino men. The World Bank’s report Overcoming the Barriers to Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Philippines identified that childcare and social norm about roles greatly impacted women’s ability to join the workforce. Further compounding the issue is that women in the workforce are mostly concentrated in low skill positions in which their male counterparts are compensated 50% more on their daily wage. However, in high skilled jobs women earn about 20% more than their male counterparts.

This will be the Philippines first appearance at a Women’s World Cup. The success of the women’s national team has been attributed to recruitment internationally from the Filipino diaspora and enhanced coaching. With the country rallying around the women’s team the government has created special cash incentives to recognize the women’s team. Each of the players on the team received P50,000 for reaching the semifinals of the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup.

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While Switzerland’s position in central Europe has long implicated the mountainous nation in European and International affairs, its famous position of armed neutrality has characterized its relations with other states.

Switzerland gained independence from the Holy Roman Empire in 1648, when it first solidified its independence, and has not fought in an international war since 1815, the year its policy of neutrality was officially recognized at the Congress of Vienna.

Despite its neutrality, Switzerland is home to a number of international organizations, particularly in Geneva, its second-most populous city. While it did not fight in the First World War, Switzerland joined the League of Nations in 1920, and hosted its headquarters until it ceased operations in 1946.

Today, Switzerland is home to 40 international organizations with more than 25,000 staff.  This includes, among others, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, the United Nations Office at Geneva, and the International Olympic Committee.

However, though it plays host to many of the world’s most prominent International organizations, its participation in these IOs has only recently grown. Switzerland joined the United Nations in 2002, where it previously held an observer role. Switzerland was also recently elected to the UN Security Council for the 2023-2024 term, and plays an active role in many UN specialized institutions, including the Economic Commission for Europe, the UN Environment Programme, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and more.

Outside of the United Nations, Switzerland is a member of the World Trade Organization, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the European Free Trade Association, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and, among many others, the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe, where the Swiss Foreign Minister served as the organization’s Chairman-in-Office in 1996.

In spite of its many recent attempts to increase its involvement in the international community, Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, but maintains bilateral treaties with the EU to take part in the European Single Market and the Schengen Agreement, which offers Switzerland and its citizens free trade and reduced labour movement restrictions with other member states

Additionally, though it does not fight in wars, Switzerland is an active peacekeeping force around the world. Switzerland is a part of NATO’s Partnership for Peace, the Euro Atlantic Partnership Council, and deployed members of its armed forces to support the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Bosnia. The Swiss army also continues to provide support for the Kosovo Force, supervising civilian reconstruction efforts, monitoring and protecting patrimonial sites, supporting military police and offering medical assistance.

Gender Equity (by Alanna Harman)

2021 marked the 50th anniversary of women’s suffrage in Switzerland. “In 1971, after a failed referendum in 1959, over 50 years after the US and Germany, and over 25 years after France, Italy, and Austria, Switzerland’s male electorate granted women the right to vote and stand for election at the federal level”. In 2021 Switzerland also climbed back into the top 10 countries in the Global Gender Gap Report, this was the best score Switzerland had received to date, indicating a narrowing in the gender gap. In 2019 42% of Switzerland’s National Council was represented by women. In 2021 Swiss corporate law set “guidelines that companies allocate to women at least 30% of positions on the boards of directors and 20% in executive board”. Companies have been given 5 and 10 years respectively to achieve these targets. “Non-compliance with those proportions, will require justification in the remuneration report, and measure to reach those quotas need to be put forward”.

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Group B

Team Win Draw Loss Pts
Republic of Ireland012

The Australian Women’s National Soccer team, the Matildas, represents Australia in international association football. It is fielded by Football Australia (FA), the governing body of football in Australia competing as a member of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF), having previously been organized through the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) up until 2006.

The team has won three OFC titles, one AFC title and one AFF title, making them the first national team to be champions in two different confederations (before their male counterparts achieved the same feat in 2015 AFC Asian Cup). The team has also participated in seven FIFA Women's World Cups and four Olympic Games, but has not won either tournament. As of April 2023, they are ranked eleventh in the world by FIFA. The Matildas will co-host the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup with New Zealand, which means they automatically qualify for the event as co-hosts.

To achieve gender equality in Australian football, the Football Federation of Australia (now Football Australia) had to go through a governance reform process. When gender equality policies were implemented, the worldwide body for football, FIFA, threatened to revoke the recognition of member federation, Football Australia. The Congress Review Working Group was founded as a result of the threat posed by the governance crisis. Significant structural change, including required gender equality measures, resulted from the Working Group's recommendations. It remains to be seen whether constitutional reforms, such as the 40:40:20 plan (40 percent women, 40 percent males, and 20 percent of any gender), would result in significant and long-lasting change. In an effort to make sports more gender-equal in the future.

The host nations of large sports events are often called out by the international public for their track record on human rights. The shift to focus on Australia’s treatment of women in preparation for co-hosting (with New Zealand) the 2023 FIFA women’s World Cup. Australia is currently ranked 43rd in the world by the World Economic Forum for gender equality, noting that one woman a week dies in Australia as a consequence of intimate partner violence. First Nations women and gender-diverse people can participate in football through Australia’s Legacy ‘23 plan to increase diversity in professional sport, but some argue that this is not enough to address the deeply entrenched inequities and disadvantage that women face in Australia.

Gender equality in Australia has been a long and hard-fought struggle that is still ongoing. Here are some of the historical milestones that have shaped the progress of women's rights and opportunities in the country. In 1894, South Australia became the first Australian state to grant women the right to vote and stand for elections. South Australia was also the only place in the world at the time where women could run for office. In 1962, Indigenous women gained the right to enrol and vote in federal elections, along with Indigenous men, after decades of activism and campaigning by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and organisations. The Conciliation and Arbitration Commission granted equal pay for men and women doing the same work, affecting about a million female workers in 1972. This was a landmark decision that recognised the economic value and contribution of women in the workforce. The Sex Discrimination Act was passed in 1984, making it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of sex, marital status, pregnancy or potential pregnancy in various areas of public life, such as employment, education, accommodation and provision of goods and services. However, currently Australia’s gender pay gap is 22.8%. Women, on average earn, $26,596 less than men each year. Men are twice as likely to be in the top earning bracket and women are 1.5 times more likely to be in the lowest. Every single industry in Australia has a gender pay gap that favours men. And the gender pay gap has increased in eight industries this year.

These are some of the key events that have advanced gender equality in Australia, but there are many more achievements and challenges that have shaped the history and future of women's rights in the country.

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The Republic of Ireland women's national football team competes in events like the UEFA Women's Championship and the FIFA Women's World Cup on behalf of Ireland. The Algarve Cup, the Istria Cup, the Cyprus Cup, and the Pinatar Cup are just a few of the invitational competitions in which it has competed. The Women's Football Association of Ireland (WFAI) oversees its organization.

Women's Football Association of Ireland was first established in 1973. The Football Association of Ireland did not control it at first. The installation of a new governance structure for women's association football in the Republic of Ireland was part of the 2015-2018 Football Association of Ireland (FAI) Women's Strategic Plan. This resulted in the full integration of the Women's Football Association of Ireland into the FAI and the creation of a national Women's Football Committee. Additionally, eight Women's Regional Football Committees were unveiled, each composed of participants from all divisions of the game within their designated geographic region. In accordance with the FAI Strategic Plan for Women's Football, these committees are in charge of directing the growth of women's and girls' football in their respective regions.

In April 2017, the squad demanded better treatment from the FAI and threatened to boycott a home match against Slovakia. They wanted a higher match fee, and broken time payment for amateurs missing work. They claimed that they had to share with underage teams the tracksuits they wore travelling to and from away matches, and change out of them in airport toilets. The boycott threat was lifted when agreement on improvements was reached.

During the 1916 Easter Rising and later in the war for independence, women were instrumental in the struggle for Irish freedom. Some women were granted the right to vote in 1918 thanks to the success of the suffragette movement in Ireland and the United Kingdom. Four years later, all women aged 21 and over were given the vote. Ireland appeared to be moving in the right direction toward achieving gender equality at the turn of the 20th century. In 1919, Constance Markievicz, a prominent Republican, became the first woman to be elected to the House of Commons in both Ireland and the United Kingdom. The Irish Women's Liberation Movement was established in 1970. The movement sought to address issues like reproductive rights, domestic violence, and workplace discrimination. It was influenced by feminist movements in other nations. The Health (Family Planning) Act, which was passed in 1979, made contraception legal in Ireland. Homosexuality was made legal in 1990. By popular vote, Ireland became the first nation in the world to legalize same-sex unions in 2015.

According to data published by the OECD-Eurostat, the gender pay gap in Ireland was 14.4% in 2017. This ranks slightly ahead of the OECD average of 16%. Ireland compares favorably with the UK (17%), US (18%) and Canada (18%). In December 2022, PwC Ireland published a report on gender pay gap analysis which reveals a mean gender pay gap of 12.6% across Irish organizations that have published reports. This compares to Ireland’s latest available national gender pay gap of 11.3% (2019) and an EU average gender pay gap of 13% (for 2020), based on Eurostat data.

The Irish Football Association has introduced a new plan to encourage the growth of women's and girls' football in Northern Ireland. The association's commitment to continuing to make significant investments in girls' and women's football and growing the game from the grassroots up is reaffirmed by the strategic plan, "Growing the Game - Maximizing Impact." The Women in Sport Programme, which aims to increase women's participation in sport, including non-participatory opportunities like coaching and volunteering, has received over €20 million in funding from Sport Ireland.

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The Nigeria national women’s football team, nicknamed the Super Falcons, represents Nigeria in international women’s football and is controlled by the Nigeria Football Federation. The team is by far Africa’s most successful international women’s football team winning a record eleven Women’s Africa Cup of Nations titles. They are also the only team that has reached the quarter-finals at the summer Olympics and the women’s FIFA world cup. Women’s football clubs began to emerge in Nigeria in the 1970s and by the 1980s, the Youth Sports Federation of Nigeria organised a national cup competition for women footballers. Increased female soccer participation in Nigeria has been a goal of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF). By planning contests and training sessions for women's football teams, the NFF has been working to develop the sport in Nigeria.

In both 2003 and 2007, they were grouped with the traditional European superpower Sweden, the rising Asian superpower North Korea, and the historic women's superpower, the United States, and faced the threat of death. Nigeria replaced Gabon, which was initially given the right to host but later withdrew citing financial difficulties, and hosted the African women's championship finals for the third time in 2006 before they were cancelled due to a severe outbreak of gang-induced violence within the Nigerian area. Nigeria won it for the seventh consecutive year.

In Nigeria, women's football has a long history of defiance. The colonists threatened to ban any playing area that permitted women to participate in sports, according to a 1950 article in the Nigerian Dailytimes. This decree was defied by Nigerian women, who kept playing football. According to the World Economic Forum's Gender Gap Index, Nigeria is ranked 139th out of 156 nations, and civil society organizations have expressed concern that the country's representation of women in leadership positions may be declining. The report also shows that Nigeria has a gender gap of 63.9%. In Nigeria, the labor force participation rate among females is 47.9% and among males is 59.6% for 2021.

Despite the adoption of Article 42 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria's 1999 Constitution, which was adapted from the United Nations' principles of gender equality and provides for equality and the abolition of all forms of discrimination against women, the Nigerian state still faces difficulties with various forms of gendered marginalization issues against women in various facets of Nigerian society; these difficulties are primarily brought on by cultural, economic, and legal obstacles. For the current imbalanced position of women in Nigerian society, a number of explanations have been put forth. The colonization, history under military rule, patriarchal system through males, and women's lack of literacy, which places them in the background, are some of the causes.

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In Canada, women's soccer was first played in 1922. In order to prepare for the 1988 FIFA Women's Invitation Tournament in China, the Canadian Soccer Association created a women's soccer program in 1986. which served as a qualifying tournament for the FIFA Women's World Cup in 1991, where Canada was unable to qualify. The 1998 CONCACAF Women's Championship was won by Canada. Canada won the bronze medal at both the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics, and its gold medal triumph at the 2020 Summer Olympics remains the country's best result in any significant international competition.

No professional or national women's soccer leagues exist in Canada as of 2022. The Première ligue de soccer du Québec, League1 British Columbia, and League1 Ontario are the three regional pro-am leagues. Canada Soccer, the organization that oversees the sport, and the Canadian women's soccer team are currently engaged in a labour dispute. Members of the Canadian women's soccer team, the Olympic champions, testified before a committee of MPs that their program is being hampered by a lack of backing from their governing body. In its criticism of Canada Soccer, the group stated that it is "outraged and deeply concerned" about the news of "significant cuts" to national team programs in 2023 as it gears up for the Women's World Cup.

By 2035, the Canadian government is dedicated to achieving gender equity at every level of sport. The federal government set the goal of achieving gender parity in sport by 2035 in 2018. A Working Group on Gender Equity in Sport has been established by the Minister of Science and Sport to collect the experiences, viewpoints, and insights of 12 champions for gender equity in sport as well as to offer a variety of perspectives and advice on strategies to better understand and meet the unique needs of women and girls in sport.

Among 146 nations, Canada comes in at number 25 on the Global Gender Gap Index. For every dollar men make in full-time employment, women make 90 cents. To make the same amount of money as men do in a year, it takes women, on average, fifteen and a half months. The Pay Equity Act has been put into effect by the Canadian government, ensuring that men and women working in federally regulated environments, such as those in the public and private sectors, in parliamentary offices, and in the Prime Minister's and ministers' offices, receive equal pay for work of equal value. Closing the gender pay gap, advancing gender equality, and fostering workplaces where each employee is valued and engaged depend on the Pay Equity Act. As an additional measure to help close the gender pay gap in British Columbia, new pay transparency legislation was introduced on March 7, 2023. As of November 1, 2023, all employers will be required by law to disclose wage or salary ranges on all publicly posted job openings.

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Group C

Team Win Draw Loss Pts
Costa Rica0030

The Kingdom of Spain is located on the cusp of Europe and Africa, next to the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. This strategic location makes it a key political and cultural bridge across five continents. The country has a history of rule by the Romans and the Moors. The culture of Spain comes from the Castilians, Catalonians, Lusitanians, Galicians, Basques, Romans, Arabs, Jews, and Roma (Gypsies) among others. From the 16th to the 19th century, Spain had amassed a large empire overseas. In 1936-39, there was a civil war followed by decades long dictatorship of Francisco Franco. Since his death in 1975, Spain has decolonized and transitioned to democracy.

The country is a constitutional monarchy with a king that resumed power after the Franco dictatorship, however he supported primacy of the parliament. His heir and current king, King Felipe VI, has followed suit. As a parliamentary democracy, Spain also has a President who is chosen through parliamentary vote. The parliament has 350 elected representatives from Spanish constituencies. The current President is Pedro Sánchez of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE). 

Spain is a unitary state and has 17 regions with their own elected authorities, however there are concerns of separatism in Catalonia. There was a referendum deemed illegal in 2017 that backed Catalonia’s independence from Spain. Madrid imposed rule on the region until regional elections in 2021 as a result.  Spain has contested sovereignty with the United Kingdom (UK) over Gibraltar. It also has conflict with Morocco over the coastal enclaves Ceuta, Melilla, and Isla Perejil. Since 2008, Spain has emerged from the economic recession caused by the 2008 financial crisis. Youth unemployment remains high.

According to international standards for political rights and civil liberties, Spain is considered free. Spain has competitive elections and peaceful transfers of power between rival parties.

Political corruption is a concern, but politicians responsible for it have been successfully prosecuted. The rule of law prevails.

Spain is part of the European Union and an active member contributing to policies on citizenship, cohesion, linguistic diversity, and counterterrorism. Spain also signed the Schengen Agreement that eliminated border controls between member states as part of a Border-Free Europe. Internationally, Spain is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the United Nations (UN), and a founding member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Spain maintains relations with Ibero-American and Caribbean countries given shared human, historical, cultural, social, political, economic and linguistic ties. Spain is one of the main investors in Ibero-America and has significant presence in their development and modernisation. Spain is the first country to be an observer state in the Pacific Alliance and is also an observer in the Organisation of American States (OAS), the Ibero-American Integration Association (LAIA), and the Central American Integration System (SICA).

Gender Equity 

In the 2019 European Institute for Gender Equality Spain ranked 9th in the EU. “Between 2005 and 2017, Spain’s score increased by 7.9 points, progressing towards gender equality at a faster pace than other EU Member States”. Spain’s scores are the highest in the domain of health, and the greatest inequality is in power. This trend of gender equality in health was reinforced again in February 2023 when Spain was hailed by UN experts for its new feminist legislation. The new “legislation in Spain, which guarantees and facilitates access to sexual and reproductive rights in the country”. The news measures ensure “safe and accessible abortion provided by national health agencies; eliminate so-called “reflection processes” arbitrarily imposed on women; ensure access of all women (including lesbian, bisexual, and unmarried women) to assisted reproduction techniques; and introduce menstrual leaves as the first European country to do so”. The same legislation also mandates sexual education in school.  While Spain continues to excel in the domain health areas for improvement persist in other domains. For example, in 2017 106 females were victims of homicide, “of whom 47% were victims of intimate partner femicide.  

In June of 2022, it was announced that Spain joined the ranks of England, Ireland, Norway, and the United States when they announced that both their men’s and women’s teams will receive equal pay for representing their country in international play. The agreement reached in Spain is for five years and also brings equality to travel, food, and accommodation. “The bonuses received in percentages will be equalized”. Players will also receive a percentage of sponsorship contracts.  

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The Republic of Costa Rica (Spanish for ‘Rich Coast’) is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua and Panama to the north and south, and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans to the east and west, respectively. A relatively small country, Costa Rica is seen as an international leader in wildlife conservation and environmentalism. Modern day Costa Rica is known for its pacifism and happiness, reflected by the nation’s slogan ‘Pura Vida’, meaning “pure life”.

The land of Costa Rica, defined by its tropical coastlines, dense rainforests, and volcanic mountain ranges, has been inhabited by indigenous peoples for millennia. While lacking a complex civilization such as the Aztecs or Incas, Spanish explorers observed that the locals wore vast quantities of gold jewelry, giving the land its name. Costa Rica became a Spanish colony along with most of Central and South America, but its reputation ironically became that of a poor backwater province and was neglected by Spain for its sparse population and lack of resources. Because of its slow early development and relative isolation, Costa Rica was not as impacted by the institutionalized inequality and exploitation common in other colonies, laying the groundwork for a more socially progressive society. Costa Rica separated from the Spanish Empire in 1821 as a result of the Mexican War of Independence and was faced with the choice of joining the newly formed Mexican Empire or becoming its own republic. Disagreement on this choice led to the Battle of Ochomogo, where republican forces prevailed over the imperial faction and established Costa Rican independence as part of a federation of Central American states.

Throughout the 19th century, Costa Rica pursued economic growth and modernization driven by its coffee industry, connecting isolated parts of the country by railroad and giving rise to a strong middle class. Foreign-owned fruit plantations began to proliferate in Costa Rica in the late 19th century and would become known for their exploitative labour practices. Resistance to the exploitation caused by the United Fruit Company culminated in the 1934 Great Banana Strike, which ultimately resulted in the creation of Costa Rican trade unions and the beginning of a progressive tradition of legal and political reform. Costa Rica experienced a turbulent period in 1948 when a disputed election sparked the Costa Rican Civil War. Despite only lasting 44 days, it was the bloodiest conflict in Costa Rican history and had a profound effect on national politics. In the aftermath of the war, Costa Rica completely abolished its military and embraced a policy of pacifism. Costa Rica has since become the most peaceful and stable democracy in the region, known for its strong public education and healthcare systems. Today, Costa Rica welcomes millions of tourists a year from all over the world to enjoy the country’s natural beauty and easygoing lifestyle.


“In Costa Rica, there is hard evidence to support the “feminization of poverty” in which more women and women-led households are experiencing higher rates of poverty. Between 2010 and 2016, gender inequality increased mainly through the increasing rates of income inequality”. Low-income women also experience healthcare inaccessibility which contributes to lower education levels, increased health risks, and delayed or restricted access to the workforce leading to economic repercussions. Only 50% of women participate in the workforce and women also earn about 12% less than their male counterparts. The social norms that have engrained the gender divide also permeate the workforce as men are more likely to work in science and engineering and women socially acceptable roles that are compensated at a lower rate and have lower social standing. More recently in April 2022 the Costa Rican government approved a reparation bill for survivors of femicide (intentional killing of women or girls because they are female). “Since 2007, 400 women have died of femicide with 51 cases still pending investigation”.  

The 2023 Women’s World Cup will mark the second time that Costa Rica has qualified. Costa Rica’s qualification also marked the success of the players’ union which “successfully negotiated a collective agreement on rights and duties for the women’s national team similar to the one already achieved in 2014 for the men’s national side”. The agreement defined “bonuses, allowances, travel, and other basic needs for the players.

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Zambia formerly Northern Rhodesia, was a member of the Central Africa Federation which combined Northern and Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Zambia gained interest from Europeans due to its large copper deposits, however in 1956 the copper boom came to an end and Northern Rhodesians became aware of how much “the federal tax system channeled copper profits into Southern Rhodesia”. During this time Africans lost their jobs and were left with the sad realization that the “partnerships” of the Central African Federation had done little to help farming or education.  

Following the realization that Zambia was not benefitting from Zambians and others were, Zambia sought to become an independent state. The groundwork for independence began in 1958 with the formation of the United National Independence Party (UNIP). In October 1964 the country became the independent Republic of Zambia within the Commonwealth.  

Following independence the economy of Zambia fared well as the price of copper rose as a result of the Vietnam War. During this time there was a significant investment in social services increasing the number of Africans in secondary schools and university graduates.  However, another economic crisis and lack of economic diversification was detrimental to Zambia resulting in high unemployment, cuts to social services, which led to food riots. In spite of its rich natural resource and investments from China the lives of most Zambians have not improved “with about two-thirds still living in poverty”.  

Gender Equity 

In May 2023 two World Bank reports identified that in order to achieve gender equity Zambia requires assistance in implementing and scaling up evidenced-based policies on gender equity. There are notable differences in access to education, completion of education, and women’s participating in decision making which compound and leave women experiencing high levels of poverty.  The World Bank reports identified that  “to successfully contribute to Zambia’s development, policies that prioritize and promote gender equality such as participation of women in decision-making positions in government and improving gender parity in education will yield positive results”.  

This upcoming Women’s World Cup will be Zambia’s debut appearance, however, Zambia’s breakthrough performance is not without controversy. Zambia’s national team coach Bruce Mwape has been investigated over allegations of sexual misconduct, these allegations were reported to FIFA in September 2022. A source revealed that “it’s normal that the coach sleep with the players in our team”. When reached for comment by The Guardian FIFA stated “the independent ethics committee does not comment on whether or not investigations are under way into alleged cases”. At present Mwape will be attending and coaching the Zambians national team at the Women’s World Cup.  

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Japan is a high-functioning democracy. After generations of Japanese monarchs that had divine authority; today, the Japanese monarch is ceremonial. The Diet is Japan’s national legislature and main governing body. The Diet is bicameral with both a lower and an upper house. The current governing party is the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP); the LDP is typically attributed to conservatism and neoliberal economic policy.

The main religions in Japan are Shintō and Buddhism. The most popular sport in Japan is baseball, with Sumo wrestling in second, and soccer (football) in third.

Japan has the 11th largest population, and the third highest GDP. The Japan Exchange Group is the fourth largest stock exchange in the world in terms of market capitalization. The story of Japan’s economic success starts with the reforms and advancements made in Meiji Restoration (1866); the Meiji Restoration catalyzed Japan’s turn with the Industrial Revolution and propelled its national power to a status akin to those in the Concert of Europe. The Empire of Japan began after the Meiji Restoration and until defeat in World War II. After a brutal record of conquest in World War II, post-War, Japan reconstructed remarkably with corporations like Sony, Toyota, and Canon leading the way. U.S. financial and human resources were essential to this post-War reconstruction.

While Japan remains a very prosperous country, it currently faces a demographic challenge regarding its ageing population and shrinking workforce. 28% of the Japanese population is 65 and above, which is the highest in the world.

Historically and contemporarily, Japan’s main geopolitical competitor is China. Both ancient civilizations, Japan and China have gone through ebbs and flows in their relationship with different political entities at the helm. Of note in the modern era, The First Sino-Japanese War took place between 1894-1895 over the Korean Peninsula (this occurred during the Qing Dynasty and the Meiji Emperor, respectively). Fierce adversaries in World War II, Japan and China began fighting in 1937 which is two years before war broke out on the European Continent. Today, Japan (a parliamentary democracy) and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) (an authoritarian one-party state) remain competitors. China and Japan are territorial disputants over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, which can fuel nationalist sentiments that strongly exist in both countries.

Japan’s relations with the Republic of Korea also deserve highlighting. After an atrocious colonial and imperial record in Korea, such as the institutional employment of “comfort women”, Japan has still yet to truly make amends (Imperial Japanese war crimes committed in China are also a factor in the Japan-China relationship). Apart from these embedded historical grievances, the Republic of Korea and Japan both have aligning interests: they both believe in democratic values, are suspicious of the PRC, and have like-minded visions for the liberal rules-based international order. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and newly elected South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol have maintained cool relations with one another, although there are some signs of hope for a détente.

The principal security partner of Japan is the United States. They are formal allies through the 1960 Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan. Through the uncertainty of the Cold War, the Japanese home islands were defended by U.S. security guarantees, as the Japanese constitution ruled out robust military buildups. Over roughly the past decade, Japan has begun a process of reestablishing stronger military capabilities—a controversial political issue within Japan.

Finally, in the weeks ahead, one must remember that Japan is mourning longtime Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was tragically assassinated on 8 July, 2022.

Gender Equity

In the World Economic Forum’s 2022 Gender Gap Index, Japan ranked 125th of 146 countries, “the country’s worst recorded result and the lowest in the East Asia and Pacific region”. This is a drop from the previous year in which Japan was ranked at 116, contributing to Japan’s poor ranking is “women’s participation in politics and the economy continues to lag severely. The country also remained in last place among the Group of Seven industrialized countries”. While Japan lags in politics and economic contribution it has almost achieved full parity in education and health the same report shows. “The nation is ranked 138th in political empowerment, below Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which ranked 131st and 137th, respectively”. In response to the latest report Momoko Nojo, from No Youth No Japan noted that gender roles are still strongly engrained, with the lack of diversity in government this has led to unfocused efforts to address the country’s low birthrate, as women are forced to choose between careers or family. “In Japanese families with a child or children younger than 6, women spend about seven and half hours a day on chores and child care, while men spend less than an hour and a half on the same type of work”.  

For fans of Japan’s women’s national football team they should be relieved that a broadcast deal was agreed to, one week before the Women’s World Cup begins, avoiding a TV blackout. Japan who is a previous World Cup winner (2011) risked not having their games broadcast back home as negotiations between FIFA and Japan’s national broadcaster (NHK) reached a stalemate.  This is the first time that the broadcast right for the Women’s World Cup are being sold independently from the Men’s World Cup. “Japan was the last major holdout after FIFA last  month announced that it had struck a deal with the European Broadcasting Union to televise games, avoiding a controversial blackout in the “Big Five” European nations

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Group D

Team Win Draw Loss Pts
China PR1020

England is a part of the United Kingdom (UK) which comprises England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. England is the largest country in the UK. The UK is a constitutional monarchy—while the King or Queen is the Head of State, the ability to make and pass legislation resides with the Parliament. The current Head of State is King Charles III, who ascended the throne in September 2022 after the death of Queen Elizabeth II—the longest-reigning British monarch. The current Prime Minister (PM) is Rishi Sunak, who was appointed in October 2022. PM Sunak is the first British Asian Prime Minster.

Before the UK was established, England was a part of Great Britain. Beginning in the sixteenth century and lasting until the twentieth century, Great Britain colonized or established rule over countries in the Americas, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Australasia. The British Empire—the term used to describe the dominions and colonies—was the largest empire by land area. The saying “the sun never sets on the British Empire” has been used to convey the vastness—it was always daytime somewhere in the empire. Great Britain notably fought in the two world wars, and the mobilization of the empire was crucial to the British victory. Following the Second World War (1939–45), the UK gradually granted independence to the remaining colonies. Almost all the former colonies became Commonwealth members.

Although the end of the British Empire signalled a decline in power, the UK today has continued to exert considerable international influence. Regionally, the UK is a member of the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The UK was also a member of the European Union (EU). The EU amplified the UK’s power on the world stage. However, in June 2016, a referendum resulted in a majority vote to leave the EU. Following prolonged negotiations, the UK left the EU in January 2020. Brexit is the name given to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. By leaving the EU, other international actors believe that the UK abandoned a position of strength in the world’s largest economic bloc.

Despite the decision to leave the EU, the UK has continued to embrace internationalism. The UK is a founding member of the United Nations (UN) and is a permanent member of the UN Security Council—which means the UK has a special voting power. At the UN, the UK has worked to make the UN more effective and efficient at delivering peace, sustainable development, human rights, justice, and humanitarian assistance. The UK is also a member of the Commonwealth, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Group of Seven major industrialized nations (G7) and the Group of 20 major industrialized and important emerging market nations (G20).

Additionally, the UK has strong international alliances. According to PM Sunak, the United States (US) is the UK’s closest ally. Other international alliances include the CANZUK countries—Canada, Australia, and New Zealand—France, and Germany. Thus, the UK has strong international memberships and alliances making it a relevant international actor.

Gender Equity

“Women are still missing from the top jobs in the United Kingdom’s politics, law, civil service, media, professional and sports administration sectors”.  The same study also found that the situation was much worse for women of colour, as well the gap in full time employment is much wider in couples with children than those without. “The 2020 Sex and Power Index highlighted the ‘dismally’ slow pace of change across sectors ranging from business to courts”. In 2020 the UK was ranked 6th in the EU on the Gender Equity Index, the UK’s ranking has remained the same from 2010 – 2020. “Gender inequalities are most pronounced in the domain of power…its lowest ranking is in the domain of money”. The UK was also recently criticized for their announcements of “a new strategy to advance gender equality around the world on the same day that MPs announced plans to investigate the impact of UK aid cuts on women and girls”. The global strategy launched on International Women’s Day makes gender equality central to its work including “supporting sexual and reproductive health programmes and funding grassroots women’s rights groups”. In 2021 the same group (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office – FDCO) confirmed that they would be cutting four billion pounds from the aid budget.  

In 2020 the Football Association (FA) announced that “England’s men’s and women’s national soccer teams are being paid the same appearance fee to represent their country”. National men’s and women’s team athletes are to be compensated the same both in terms of match fees and match bonuses.

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Haiti a former colony of France gained independence in 1804. However, “independence came at a crippling cost. It had to pay reparations to France, which demanded compensation for former slave owners. The 19th Century “independence debt” was not paid off until 1947. There have been recent calls for France to repay the money”.  

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere on many measure, a majority of its population lives in “absolute poverty”, and as “much as three-fifths of the population is unemployed or underemployed”. Contributing to Haiti’s poor economic situation is the lack of natural resources there were exploited by colonialism and later through poor development planning and corruption. Compounding Haiti’s situation have been recent natural disasters that have that have gravely impacted the country. An earthquake in 2010 killed more than 200,000 people and caused extensive damage to infrastructure and economy. Hurricane Matthew ravaged the region in 2016, and in 2021 another earthquake leaves its impact, killing thousands of Haitians and displacing even more. Just 48 hours later Haiti was hit by tropical storm Grace drenching Haiti in rain leading to flash floods and threats of mudslides.  

Haiti’s chronic instability, dictatorships, and increase if gang violence led to a UN peacekeeping force to be “put in place in 2004 to help stabilize the country, and only withdrew in 2017”. Political instability remains a real concern, in July 2021 President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated. “Amid political stalemate, the country continues to be wracked by unrest and gang violence”.  

Gender Equity 

The instability and economic plight of Haiti contributes to gender equity in the country. “Women in Haiti suffer from poor access to maternal health and subsequently have poor maternal health outcomes…and limited control over and agency regarding decisions about their health”. Women are also at a greater risk for gender-based violence and face “security risks both at home and in their community”. Entrenched gender norms have resulted in women having “low levels of decision-making power regarding their own health care, spending on household purchases, and visiting friends and family in Haiti”. 

Haiti’s Women’s National Soccer team will make their debut at the 2023 Women’s World Cup. This in spite of the fact that “the don’t have any sponsors, their training centre closed because of gang violence and some of their biggest fans can’t afford a TV”. The women’s team was forced to play home games in its neighboring Dominican Republic.  “Players at the centre [soccer training centre] were previously able to practice twice daily and play matches on Sunday…Now, some young players train only once a week on a small field loaned by Haiti’s top private school”. Haiti is in a tough group but the team’s coach notes the support behind the Women’s National team and positive impact a strong performance would have on the people of Haiti.

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From the first Stone Age settlers to its Viking connections, Danish history is a never-ending source of global interest. Denmark is the oldest kingdom in Europe, located in the Nordic region. It is commonly referred to as a Scandinavian country today, alongside other northern European countries. Denmark’s history, traditions, literature, and design are a part of the Nordic culture, which makes the country’s political system to be similar to Sweden, Norway, and Ireland.

The Danish pre-history culminated with the Vikings; the seafaring people that originated from Denmark and ruled areas for 300 years by participating in massive amounts of trading and exploration. Due to this long period of dominance, the Vikings made long-lasting cultural, technological, and societal impacts across Europe. Upon the fall of the Vikings, Denmark entered a phase of diminished power by internal power struggles until Queen Margrethe became its first official head of state in the 14th century. However, the introduction of Christianity to the Danish society and monarchical powers did not prevent Denmark from hitting another low-water mark in history.

Once the Kingdom of Denmark decided to remain neutral to protect its borders, it started to profit from the ongoing war in other parts of Europe. The Danish began to grow its economy by trading and taking advantage of the upward tendency of wartime pricing. In fact, Denmark successfully remained neutral during World War I and gained territory from Germany. While the human and economic consequences of the war were extensive to many countries, the Danish state and society were able to create new diplomatic and political practices that reshaped its economic relations and shifted domestic power balances. Although neutrality worked for Denmark during the first World War, Hitler took advantage of this position and took control of Denmark in 1940. It was not until 1945 that the country was liberated from German rule by British forces.

Following the sheer relief of freedom in Denmark, the country joined the United Nations (UN) in June 1945 and signed the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949. Denmark is not only the only Nordic country that is a member of both NATO and the European Union, but Denmark also has recently bid for a seat on the UN Security Council for the period of 2025-26. For a country with fewer than 6 million citizens, Denmark plays a significant role internationally. Besides having close ties with Sweden and Norway, the United States is Denmark’s largest non-European trade partner and export market.

Today, Denmark is a constitutional monarchy ruled by a representative democracy. The country is specifically known for being a leader in the green movement with its environmentally friendly initiatives and programs. For instance, the Government of Denmark is one of only a few bilateral donors in the world that meet the UN goal of providing a minimum of 0.7 of gross national income for development assistance.

Gender Equity

Denmark has been viewed as a leader in gender equity. “When industrialization began to take place in Denmark about 150 years ago, women quickly became part of the workforce, earning their own money, paying taxes, and contributing to financing the Danish welfare system”. By the 1960s, a network of day care systems had been established to support women working. “Today, the percentage of Danish women working outside the home is one of the world’s highest”. However, like all countries there is room for improvement. In the World Economic Forum’s 2021 Gender Gap report Denmark was ranked as 29th, a drop from 14th place they held the year prior. Contributing to Denmark ranking is that fact that “Denmark has one of the world’s most segregated labour markets…women in Denmark are more likely to work in the public sector providing hands-on care, while men are more likely to work in the private sector and in the STEM professions of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics”. The segregation of career choices by these social norms also contributes to the income disparity between men and women, on average men in Denmark earn 12.7% more than women.  Research has suggested that about 85% of the wage disparity can be explained by the segregated labour market, but, 15% of the difference still cannot be explained. One initiative that Denmark is exploring to address the wage gap is the parental leave framework, in particular that the number of parental leave weeks must be “more equally distributed between parents”.  

In 2017 pay equity for Denmark’s women’s national team received international headlines. The Women’s team went on strike and did not play their scheduled friendly match against the Netherlands. Of primary concern was the employment status of Women’s National Team members, are they classified as employees of the Danish Football Association (DBU). During these talks the men’s national team offered 500,000 DKK a year from their agreement with the DBU to the women’s national team. “This was on the condition of the Danish FA securing the same basic rights for the women in their agreement as the men have in theirs. The DBU has unfortunately decided to reject both of these offers”. After 12 months of negotiation an agreement was reached between the DBU and the athletes. The resolution included an increased investment in the women’s team, and an increase in player salaries, and bonuses for tournament qualification.

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“The People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949 after the Communist Party defeated the nationalist Kuomintang, who retreated to Taiwan, creating two rival Chinese states – the People’s Republic on the mainland and the Republic of China on Taiwan”.  Under the rule of Mao Zedong China stagnated, with reform  to “partly-capitalist” agenda China is one of the fastest-growing and leading exporter. This change in economic policy has not been echoed in political reform. The Communist Party reigns with tight control of politics and society broadly. Today, China invests heavily overseas and is engaged in “assertive foreign and defence policy far beyond East Asia”.  

In 2018 the Community Part abolished the two-term presidential limit, effectively allowing Xi Jinping to remain in office indefinitely. “President Xi rejects constitutional democracy and human rights as models for Chins, has imposed strict limits on freedom of expression, especially on social media…, [and] incarcerat[ed] thousands of Muslim Uighurs in brutal ‘re-education camps’”.  

While China has the world’s largest internet audience, the content that can be accessed is tightly restricted. Extensive filtering of media is known as the “Great Firewall” limiting access to foreign news and restricting broadcasting.  

Gender Equity 

“As of December 2020, only 22.1% of indicators needed to monitor the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from a gender perspective were available, with gaps in key areas, in particular: key labour market indicators, such as the unemployment rate and gender pay gaps, information and communication technology skills and women in local governments. In addition, many areas – such as gender and poverty, physical and sexual harassment, women’s access to assets (including land)m and gender and the environment – lack comparable methodologies for regular monitoring” 

More recently China has removed its one-child policy and the limit has been increased to three children to assist in resolving its demographic challenges. To encourage more women to have children in March political advisers proposed that single and unmarries women have access to egg freezing and IVF. “Many women have been put off having more children or any at all due to the expense of child care and having to stop their careers, with gender discrimination still a key hurdle”.

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Group E

Team Win Draw Loss Pts

The United States of America has been a ruling country of the Western world since its discovery, with complex historical events and struggles that have shaped the nation itself. The colonies within the USA gained independence through various policies being established through the democratic republic it is today. Human rights issues have been a prolonged issue that still exist today, with struggles to abolish slavery, genocide against Native Americans, discrimination against women and people of colour, and pivotal movements that have gained various individuals rights to freedoms, as the land of the free establishes itself to be. Women gained voting rights in 1920 with the Nineteenth Amendment after pro-longed movements spanning the whole nation and years of dispute. Additionally, it was not until the 1950s-1960s that the Civil Rights Movement, one of the most powerful movements in history, shifted the prejudices of discrimination. Currently, the USA has continued to struggle with human rights issues, amongst them involves LGBTQ+ rights, gender equality, and racial justice.

The USA is currently a multi-cultural sphere with a variety of languages, and English as its first, however it is home to over 400 languages. Further, the USA subscribes to various groups including the G7, G20, UN, and NATO, aiding globally with its immense prosperity. The USA has worked well and has various allyships to count for its economic standing, while sometimes carrying enemies along the way.

Overall, pertaining to the nation’s gender equity stance the USA does have supporting roles and plans for targeting inequalities and working to ensure further remedy, but these issues are still at risk in the nation. In the Gender Inequality Index, the USA ranked 21st, however recent issues within the USA regarding access to proper healthcare, gender violence, workplace discrimination, pay disparities, and further issues are still prevalent within the country. Specifically pertaining to pay parity, women annually earn 83.7% of what their male counterparts do, and these issues carryover into the sporting world. With more recent disputes for equal pay in the WWC, especially calling action to the NSO for the USA women’s football team, the U.S. Soccer Federation recently announced for the equal pay between the men’s and women’s teams. Historically, the US Women’s National Team has had many successes within the World Cup and their own league. Additionally, the women’s team has seen record breaking viewership over recent seasons. With this in mind, the USWNT has had a prolonged fight for changes to the wage parities present in the sport, and finally some development has been made.

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In 1930 the Communist Party of Vietnam is created, and WWII occurs in 1939. WWII ended in 1945 when the French reoccupy the Southern Vietnam and Northern Vietnam declares independence with Ho Chi Minh who led the Communist Party of Vietnam. In 1946, French-Viet Minh war begins and the United States sides with the French to stop communism from spreading. Then, Vietnam is split into two different countries of Communist Northern and Southern Vietnam in 1954. Vietnam War beings in 1959 to reunite Vietnam as a whole, and the U.S comes to fight. The leader of the Vietnam War, Ho Chi Minh, eventually launches offensives against the Southern Vietnam and U.S. in 1968, but the leader dies the following year. But in 1973 the U.S. leaves Vietnam, and just two years following the Southern Vietnam surrenders to the North. Finally, in 1976 the Republic of Vietnam is created, and the following year Vietnam goes into the United Nations. Additionally, around this time Vietnam did invade Cambodia, which sparked conflicts for years in the fight against Communism, but eventually ended in 1991 by Paris Peace Agreements being signed.

The first Vietnamese thinker to promote gender equity was Ho Chi Minh, who led the Communist Party of Vietnam. Women of Vietnam first received the right to vote in 1946 along with being involved within the government, such as later holding seats in the political party. Constitutions later in a period from 1946-1992 and until currently work to implement equality between men and women.

Vietnam, 1930, the Communist Party of Vietnam is created, which still reigns today as the country’s leading political position. For long the country of Vietnam was split in two, Communist Northern Vietnam and Southern Vietnam. The Vietnam War in 1959 began to reunite Vietnam as whole, as they are today. Vietnam previously had some enemies, like the U.S., who later became an ally following the Paris Peace Agreement, and Cambodia which they invaded following the Vietnam War. Additionally, China was previously an enemy, but later the disputes between the two were collectively remedied. Vietnam joined the United Nations missions following these conflicts. Currently, Vietnam developed laws in 2013 preventing citizens from discussing current affairs of the country on the internet, so some information can be difficult to locate. However, the nation has overtime become increasingly successful both economically and in their rankings for happiness, as well as making major improvements. However, Vietnam is still lowly ranked in quite a few areas like on the Human Freedom Index as well as the Good Country Index, and especially within sport. With communism being the only ruling party within Vietnam comes little freedom/democracy from the people of the country, and often the population faces suppression of the basic freedoms and voices including in politics. Laws involving the lack of discussion of Vietnam’s current affairs maintains this agenda as well. Additionally, it would seem Vietnam is not a part of BRICS but would be a possibility to hold a role in the membership as they are economically rising. Vietnam is not a part of G7/G20 and are a part of G77 within the UN that works to enhance countries economically. Perceived human rights status of the population seems low, as Vietnam seems to lack freedoms of other countries in their political say along with Vietnam is viewed as a developing country by others, but currently is being viewed as a growing one at that.

The first Vietnamese thinker to promote gender equity was Ho Chi Minh, who led the Communist Party of Vietnam. Women of Vietnam first received the right to vote in 1946 along with being involved within the government, such as later holding seats in the political party. Constitutions later in a period from 1946-1992 and until currently work to implement equality between men and women. Now, this work took Vietnam far in their efforts for gender equities, but improvements are still needed for further human and women’s rights issues. Current legal frameworks in Vietnam still uphold disparities for political, workforce, healthcare, and pay gaps for women within the nation.

For the WWC Vietnamese women’s football team qualifying for the very first time, there has been discussion regarding the pay inequities or struggles that are found behind the sport. It would seem there have been increases in the women’s prize money, however not much can be found on the pay differences between the men’s and women’s teams.

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The Netherlands had a history of various hardships, expansion, and economic growth.  During the 18th and 19th Century the Netherlands was associated with other large empires of France, Austria, Russia and Prussia and the United Kingdom. Political ideologies like libertarianism and republican beliefs that spanned globally were not welcome to the Dutch Republic, which produced their own standing of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, including Belgium and Luxemburg. Later in the 19th century, peace and prosperity emerged as economic growth continued, and the Netherlands became liberal and closer to what it is today, functioning in a constitutional monarchy. WWII brought suffrage to the Jewish population in the Netherlands while they were invaded and occupied by German armies in the 1940s. Following this, in the 20th century the reconstruction of the Netherlands began post-war, which further their economic growth quickly. The Netherlands is now one of the top prospering and most developed countries across the world.

The Netherlands take part in the European Union, which is focusing on the needs of all Europeans together to allow for development. Additionally, they subscribe to the United Nations missions since 1947, to maintain peace and security to various counties globally. This country is incredibly first world, having not only immense economical standing, but high quality of life within it. There are a variety of areas in which the Netherlands rank exceedingly in life factors. Due to its liberal stance, the Netherlands has a high stance with human rights issues and works to focus on the promotion of women’s rights, along with legalities against discrimination. The Netherlands works to promote women’s financial independence along with prioritizing gendered violence issues, and equal treatment.

It would seem equality matters were previously an important issue within the Netherlands, with women’s active voting rights beginning in 1919. However, currently the nation has no action plan solely dedicated to gender equality, and rather there are policies committed to gender mainstreaming to determine where inequities should be minimized. Wage parity exists between the genders in the Netherlands, sitting around 13.5% in 2021, however there has been work toward closing the gap and overtime it has improved. Additionally, in the realm of the WWC it would seem there have been previous discussions and disputes regarding the Dutch women’s team receiving equal pay to the men’s team. Agreements have been made to further close the wage disparities between the teams for the Netherlands, and the Royal Dutch Football Association announced that the women’s Netherlands team will be receiving the same salaries as their male counterparts. Many teams will be able to take this example as one to lead by.

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Initially, Portugal began as an independent kingdom, working as a monarchy. Overtime, Portugal did become a dictatorship during the 1960s, but eventually during the 1970s in the Carnation Revolution it evolved to become a more democratic political republic. Currently, Portugal is the third most peaceful country in the world, a founding member of NATO, OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, EFTA, and the European Union. Additionally, the country worked alongside Dutch, English and French for their economic inclines, and previously colonized Brazil.

Portugal as a whole is ranked highly in terms of the nation’s standings on Human Development (38th) and Human Freedom Indexes (18th). The country is quite economically prosperous, along with being successful in its work with human rights. Currently, Portugal has commitments to developing human rights constitutions, including equality and non-discrimination agreements. The government is working to promote equality between women and men, however even with an action plan spanning from 2018-2030 they currently do not have laws to correspond to these issues. Gender equity does seem to have considerate acknowledgement from Portugal with the current pursuit of action. Wage parity and gender discrimination does however exist here and often with unequal pay/unpaid word, sectoral segregation, men in higher positions, and pay discrimination, which has seemingly progressed minimally overtime. Additionally, with regards to human rights issues, as much as the nation is taking a stand, it is still facing a variety of issues such as gender-based violence, torture and ill-treatment, refugee rights, migrant rights, and more. Policy to reality would be important with the work the intend to impose.

The NSO in charge of football in Portugal is the Federação Portuguesa de Futebol (FPF), which has previously been accused of sexual discrimination as wage parities exist between men’s and women’s football as well. Salary caps were previously enforced within the female league of the FPF, while the men’s team was rather earning millions each year, creating monetary differences and exacerbated sexism through the organization. The FPF after much dispute and being called to action removed the spending ceiling or salary cap, describing it as a “discriminatory taxation”, showcasing the need for further policies within the NSO regarding wage parity and gender and sexual discrimination. Neighbouring areas to Portugal are making much more progress in comparison considering Spain is ranking much higher on a Gender Equality Index, with a 74.6 for Spain and 62.8 for Portugal, and with their upgrades to women’s leagues to professional status. It is important that these human rights issues be recognized and push for further success on advancing to successful outcomes.

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Group F

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France has a long and well-documented history of being at the midst of some of the greatest conflicts in the history of the world. It has played in important role in the integration of Europe after the Second World War as well as in changing the social fabric of regions in Africa that became French colonies. Politically France had been ruled by a monarchy since the 9th century. Yet at the end of the 18th century- suffering economically and financially- from its involvement in the American Revolution and the extravagant spending of the royalty left French citizens disillusioned with the monarchy. A desire for change led to the start of the French Revolution  which culminated in the creation of the First Republic. Over the course of the French Revolution power struggles led to the Reign of Terror- an execution spree that saw over 17,000 people being officially tried and executed. In 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte took power as France’s first consul and subsequently the emperor of the First French Empire during which he conquered and controlled most of continental Europe.

During World War I, trench warfare in the North-east of France saw the death of 1.3 million Frenchmen. The war was won by an Anglo-French offensive against Germany and in 1919 the Peace Treaty of Versailles was signed. Yet, with the onset of the Second World War- Germany occupied most of France resulting in a staunch French resistance. In 1944 France was liberated following the Battle of Normandy. The later half of the 1900s saw France losing colonial control of Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria as well as being defeated in Vietnam. Going into the early 2000s France established its conservative political tone as elections as elections and changes of leadership circulates and power often ends up in the hands of their centrist-right party. Protests and strikes are seen as commonplace in France from public sector unions and youths. Problematic security measures and their consequences contribute to the protests such as the forced deportation of Roma to Romania and Bulgaria. This rhetoric of problematic measures is continued as France bans the face veil in 2011 and the dismantling of migrant camps in 2016. These events are accompanied by an increase in popularity for the far-right National Front party- seen in in the tight election race between La Pen and the now- President Emmanuel Macron.

On the international stage France once more exerted influence as it entered into a new military and nuclear agreement with the U.K.- agreeing to cooperate in testing nuclear warheads. France also contributed to measures such as enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya and announcing a withdrawal from Afghanistan. France also seemingly started a crackdown on Islamists through intervening in areas like Somali and Mali and launching air strikes in Syria. France continues to struggle with violations of human rights  issues especially towards minority groups, migrants and asylum seekers and racism.

France is a member of various international forums such as the United Nations- also holding a role as one of the five permanent members of the Security Council. France is also a founding member of the European Union and a significant member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). France is a member of the Asian Development Bank, Council of Europe, OAS (as a permanent observer), OECD, various community commissions and groups, and other intergovernmental organizations. In all, France belongs to more international governmental and nongovernmental organizations than any other country in the world. France is also a signatory of the Law of the Sea and a member of the WTO, the G20, G7 and G5.

Gender Equity

In the 2019 Gender Equality Index France ranked third in the EU. “France’s scores are the highest in the domains of health and money. Gender inequalities are most pronounced in the domains of knowledge and time. The greatest improvement is in the domain of power”. Some of this improvement may have stemmed from gender equality “was hailed as President Emmanuel Macron’s ‘great national cause’ in his first term in office”. “While strict gender parity technically applies, with 21 women and 21 men, ‘the distribution of ministries is rooted in gender bias and sex stereotype.’  For example, four of five “executive” ministries (those with most executive powers) are occupied by men, while women head seven of nine social affairs ministries”. France was also reported to have made “moderate progress in the domain of money”, even though their wage gap continued to increase during this time period. “In 2018, the gender wage gap in France stood at 15.2%, slightly below the European average of 16.2% in the same year. Essentially, this statistic means that men in France earned 15.2% more than women for work of the same nature. In 2019, the European average wage gap saw improvement, dropping to 14.1% while France saw a rise in the gender wage gap, climbing to 16.5%, the 10th highest in the European Union”. Internationally, the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs “deliver on this commitment through its feminist foreign policy”. Tjis includes advocating for gender equality at international forms and recognizing the intersection of gender with a variety of social issues. “By 2025, France is committed to ensuring that 75% of projects funded by France’s official development assistance helps to improve gender equality”.  

Working conditions for France’s Women’s Team remain a concern for the athletes. “Just three days after playing in the French side which won the Tournoi De France, three of their leading players have withdrawn their services from the national team citing working conditions within their federation which fail to meet the necessary requirements”. These actions by the athletes led to the replacement of the Head Coach. The newly instated head coach Herve Renard made it a priority to have Wendi Renard return to the team. In the months leading up the World Cup Wendi Renard has returned and the team works to “create a united group”. In the days leading up the Women’s World Cup, France’s women’s national team released an advert to highlight the excitement and skill level of their team and female soccer players that has garnered much attention online

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Christopher Columbus landed in Jamaica in 1494, upon arrival Columbus was met by the Arawak tribe.  Columbus and the other Spaniards on the ship killed, tortured, and wounded many of the Arawaks to be able to claim the island. The Spaniards overworked and treated the Arawaks so poorly that they all had died in a short period of time. Under Spanish rule Jamaica remained poor. In 1655 England led a successful attack on Jamaica and the Spaniards surrendered. Under English settlers Jamaica was used to produce crops that could be sold in England. Sugar quickly became the main crop of the island and enslaved Africans were forced into labour. In 1808 the Abolition Bill was passed, stating that “trading in African slaves was declared to be ‘utterly abolished, prohibited and declared to be unlawful. Emancipation and apprenticeship came into effect in 1834 and full freedom was granted in 1838”. In 1962 Jamaica was granted its independence from England developing its own constitution.  

Jamaica today remains focused on agriculture, agriculture “employs about one-fifth of the workforce, and the major agricultural export is raw sugar, with molasses and rum as by-products”. Tourism is also a major economic driver for the island nation today. Jamaica has a strong developed sporting culture that has resulted in numerous successes internationally. One of the most popular sports in Jamaica in cricket a tradition passed down from British colonization, Jamaica is also recognized as a dominant force in athletics boasting both the fastest man and women, Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce respectively.  

Gender Equity 

Jamaica continues to make progress towards gender equity, however, barriers to economic opportunity remain. Women’s participation in the labour force remains lower than men’s in part due social norms around unpaid housework and childcare reducing individual agency of women. One area in which Jamaica has made advancements is the legal framework for gender equality, however, room for improvement exists especially when it comes to sexual and reproductive health.   

Leading up to this Women’s World Cup members of Jamaica’s national team have voiced their concerns at the subpar support they have received from the Jamaican Football Federation. “The players said their focus has been hindered by a number of issues such as inadequate planning and access to proper resources in the buildup to the tournament”.  Each player at the Women’s World Cup will be guaranteed at least $30,000 as FIFA announced some of the prize money would go directly to individuals rather than national federations. 

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Brazil is known as a one of the world’s biggest diverse democracies and the fifth largest country in the world. The location of the Amazon rainforest, amount of diverse wildlife species and agricultural exports and resources have made Brazil into South America’s most industrial nation.

Brazil was colonized by the Portuguese in the 1500s and Portuguese kings continued ruling Brazil until 1822 when one of the monarchs named himself the Emperor of Brazil. Over the next decade immigration from Europe ramped up and the end of the 1800s saw the monarchy being overthrown and the first federal republic being established. Brazil has a history of being politically controlled by military and civilian governments- within this history one of the most pivotal moments was when President Getulio Vargas took over Brazil via a military coup and the economy was placed under state control- thus starting a social welfare revolution. The later half of the 1900s saw Brazil slide into economic trouble  as inflation ran rampant resulting in periods of hyperinflation and collapse of the Asian stock markets. 1960 to 1994 saw periods of inflation that peaked above a 100%. 

Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest continues to be threated by climate change and deforestation- a global issue that the Brazilian government is failing to lobby through their implementation of controversial environmental laws . Where Brazil falls short within environmental policies, it makes up for in terms of implementing more social welfare policies aimed at lifting people out of poverty and increasing access to education.

In 2016, Brazil hosted the Olympic Games  in Rio de Janeiro- an event that invited large protests at the expenses of hosting the World Cup despite rising living costs. The years preceding the World Cup was plagued by controversies such as major corruption scandals against Petrobras- Brazil’s state oil company and public emergencies such as an outbreak of Zika virus. In 2018, after much political upheaval far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro became president. Multiple controversies and criticisms  have followed his presidency. In 2020 he refused to implement public health measures that would curb the spread of COVID-19 and has threated democratic rules through breeding mistrust in the electoral system, free speech, and judicial independence. Other human rights abuse   that Brazil is accused of under Bolsonaro’s rule includes a high number of police killings disproportionately affecting black Brazilians and inhumane prison conditions.

Brazil belongs to several international organizations, including the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the Inter-American Development Bank, the G-20, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization.  Brazil traditionally has been a leader in the inter-American community and is a member of the sub-regional MERCOSUL and PROSUL groups.

Gender Equity

Like so many other countries gender inequities continue to seep into the structures and systems of Brazil and ultimately influences Brazilian culture and social norms. “In Brazil, women are less valued in their jobs, face more difficulties in accessing the labour market and in professional growth, and are subject to a labour legislation that amplifies inequality. Additionally, public policies are not yet very effective at reducing inequality and expanding opportunities, particularly for low-income women”. Despite having the same education level it has been reported that Brazilian women earn 25% less than their male counterparts. In addition to economic struggles the Snapshot of the Status of Women in Brazil: 2019 report indicated that Brazil experiences “one of the highest rate of femicide – the killing of women due to their gender – in the world”. Even though Brazil has recently experienced more women running and being elected to office the overarching ideology of politics is “far more conservative…that has sought to reinforce traditional gender roles”. Brazil’s performance on the 2022 Equal Measure 2030 SDG Gender Index ranked Brazil 78th out of 144 countries in the previous 2019 edition of the report Brazil had ranked 77th. “Brazil’s index score stagnated between 2015 and 2020” indicating little movement towards the goals of the 2030 Agenda.  

The Women’s National team has been able to advocate for equal pay when representing the Brazilian national team as their male counterparts. The men’s and women’s teams earn “equal value in terms of prizes and daily rates. The Women’s National Brazilian team has used the beginning stages of the World Cup to highlight gender equity issues beyond their own boarders. As the team arrived in Australia for the Women’s World Cup the plane the team used included “picture of Mahsa Amini, who dies after being detained by Iran’s ‘morality police’,  and Amir Nasr Azadani, a former soccer player who was sentenced to 26 years in prison for taking part in protests following Amini’s death”. 

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Due to Panama’s location “at the crossroads of the North and South American continents and the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, Panama is of immense strategic importance”. The United States supported Panama’s succession from Columbia and secured a sovereign zone to build the Panama Canal – which remained under US control from 1914 to 1999, following with Panama took full control, ending almost a century of US jurisdiction.  

The Panama Canal is critical to trade and the economy of Panama. It is reported that more 15,000 vessels make the right-hour journey through the canal on an annual basis. However, with climate change the operation of the Canal is becoming increasingly challenging. The vice-president of water projects at the Panama Canal stated “they are working on finding solutions to ensure the canal does not run out of water”.  

Panama is also home to the Darien Gap, a thick rainforest that forms the border between South and Central America. The Darien Gap is known as part “of the world’s most dangerous migrant route”. It is estimated that 133,000 migrants crossed the Darien Gap in 2021 most are coming from Haiti, Cuba, and Venezuela with the hopes of settling in the US.  

Gender Equity 

 Panamian women like most women are impacted by deep structural issues which impact social norms, self-perception, and leads to tangible issues like childcare. “Women in Panama who are impacted by these issues and others are denied a future and pay commensurate with their abilities”. As a means to address some of these issues Panama’s National Institute for Vocational Training and Training for Human Development with the support of the International Labour Organization have developed a plan to promote Panama women in non-traditional careers. Panama was also one of the first countries to partner with the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC). As Panama works to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic integrating women in a meaningful way in the workforce is viewed as a key strategic priority.  

In a March 2023 report by UN Human Rights made note of the work that has been undertaken by Panama, but also highlighted several areas for further development. The report indicated “that there were cases of forced sterilization of indigenous women and women with disabilities” as well many reports of teenage pregnancy from rape. Overall, bodily autonomy remains a critical area of development for gender equity in Panama  

This will be Panama’s debut at the Women’s World Cup

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Group G

Team Win Draw Loss Pts
South Africa1110

Sweden has been lauded as “one of the world’s most highly developed post-industrial societies” with low unemployment and a strong economy. Sweden is often used as an exemplar when discussing socialism as Sweden did embrace this ideological perspective from the 1970s – 1990s. However, more recently Sweden has moved closer to the centre adopting “stricter immigration policies, tightened eligibility requirements for welfare benefits systems, taken a tougher stance on crime, and carried out business-friendly policies”.  

With the evolving international political landscape Sweden’s approach to neutrality has also shifted. In light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine Sweden applied to join NATO in 2022. As of July 2023, Sweden’s application to join NATO remains in limbo as the Turkish President resists Sweden’s application over accusations that Sweden is “giving free rein to supporters of a Kurdish terrorist organization and to members of a religious group that Turkey has accused of plotting a failed coup against Mr. Erdogan in 2016”. To address these concerns Sweden has altered is constitution, enhanced its antiterrorism laws, and agreed to extradite individuals as per Turkey’s request. Turkish President Mr. Erdogan further stated that the Turkish parliament would ultimately make the decision and they would not take the matter up until October.  

Gender Equity 

In 2018 Sweden launched the Gender Mainstreaming in Government Agencies (GMGA) programme. The goal of this program is to integrate gender equality in all governmental agencies. The novelty and newness of this initiative has not led to real change yet. In 2022 it was reported that “10 percent of the companies listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange had women chairpersons, with 36 percent of board members women. Thirteen per cent of the companies had female CEOs”. While these statistics indicate lots of room for improvement the World Economic Forum has never ranked Sweden lower than fifth in its Global Gender Gap report.  

“In 2011, the General Assembly of the Swedish Sports Confederation approved objectives for gender equality in Swedish sports”. The impact of this initiative was that as of 2021 it was reported that 45% of sport leaders and 55% of total sport employment in Sweden are female. While Sweden has made great strides towards gender equity, there have also been reports of antiquated approaches to gender. “Swedish football player Nilla Fischer has revealed that the women’s national team were forced to strip and ‘show their genitalia’ for doctors to prove they were female at the 2011 Women’s World Cup”. This form of gender verification has been used previously beginning in the 1960s at other sporting events and colloquially referred to as a ‘nude parade’ to certify “femininity”. 

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In 1948 a policy of apartheid was adopted when the National Party took power. By 1950 the Group Areas Act was passed to classify the South African population by race and segregate blacks and whites. The African National Congress (ANC) led by Nelson Mandela responds to the passing of the Group Areas Act with civil disobedience. In 1960 the police killed 69 unarmed people in a protest in Sharpeville against the pass laws, which led to a state of emergency and the banning of the ANC. Mandela was one of the thousands who was detained in the during the state of emergency leading to his adjudication in the Treason Trial. 

Mandela was acquitted in the Treason Trial and continued his work to end segregation. Mandela wrote to the Prime Minister “requesting a national convention on a non-racial constitution, and to warn that should he [Prime Minister] not agree there would be national strike against South Africa becoming a republic”.  Mandela was then asked to lead the armed struggle and lead the Spear of the Nation, “which launched on 16 December 1961 with a series of explosions”. In early 1962 Mandela secretly left the country and was caught upon his return. He was convicted of leaving the country without a permit and inciting workers to strive, he was sentenced to five years, he was released in June of the same year. In 1964 Mandela and seven others were sentenced to life imprisonment for sabotage. Mandela spent much of his imprisonment detained at Robben Island and was released in 1990, four months after the release of the others he was convicted with. Shortly after in 1994 Mandela was elected as South Africa’s president.  

Throughout South Africa’s apartheid pressure was placed on the nation to drop their race-based constitution including pressure from sporting organizations. The International Olympic Committee barred South Africa from the Olympics for 32 years beginning in 1964 and ending in 1992. FIFA similarly banned South Africa beginning in 1961 and reinstated South Africa’s membership in the 1990s. In 2010 South Africa hosted the World Cup.  

Presently, South Africa has one of Africa’s biggest and most developed economies. However, in 2022, “the World Economic Forum warned that South Africa risked state collapse, with record unemployment levels, high crime rates, unsustainable state spending, mismanaged institutions, and corruption”.   

Gender Equity 

South Africa is a signatory to the main International Convention relating to Gender Equality and the protection of women and in-line with these convention South Africa has developed legislation that specifically addresses gender equity

The Commission for Gender Equity (CGE) found that women not accompanied by a male relative or husband were “obviously more sexually vulnerable than those who had male protectors. There was evidence to show that women and children were vulnerable to sexual harassment and rape”. As a result of known high level of violence against women and girls the South African government has identified combating these violent crimes as a priority. However, concerns from organizations like CGE continue with the accuracy and availability of gender statistics.  

South Africa enters the World Cup as the African champions, while the nation has swelled with excitement this is not to say there have not been issues. Off the pitch there has been a “standoff between the players and the South African Football Federation (SAFA). The Women’s National team was schedule to play Botswana as its final preparatory game before flying to New Zealand. “The players decided to boycott the match, protesting both the substandard state of the field they were supposed to play on, the quality of the opponent (FIFA ranking 150), and the unacceptable remuneration they were sec to receive for representing their country on the world stage. The protest generated public outcry and crisis talks were convened between SAFA, the South African Football Players Union, Banyana Banyana [South African Women’s National Soccer Team], and the Minister for Sports, Arts and Culture”. On July 5th an agreement has been reached with the “Motsepe Foundation – created by South African businessman, Patrice Motsepe, who also happens to be the president of the Confederation of African Football – stepping in to help pay the players their World Cup appearance fees”. 

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Italy is renowned for its art, architecture, and food scene, “it is also notorious for its precarious political life, and has had several dozen governments since the end of World War Two”. In the 1990s an operation known as "mani pulite" exposed corruption throughout Italy’s political and business brokers, leading to several investigations.  While many hoped that having light shed on these malfeasants would lead to change they were sadly mistaken. The “new political landscape dominated by the multi-millionaire businessman Silvio Berlusconi, who himself became increasingly mired in scandals and corruption affairs”.  

In 2022, Italy elected its first far-right led government, the ‘Brothers of Italy’, a party that descends from Benito Mussolini’s fascist party led by Italy’s first female prime minister, Giorgia Meloni. Meloni has been on record criticizing the European Union, as the third largest economy this has raised concerns for other members of the EU. In July 2023 Meloni made an impassioned speech to Spain’s far-right party saying that their success in the upcoming election would usher in “a change in the politics of Europe”.    

Gender Equity 

In 2019 Italy was ranked 14th in the EU on the Gender Equality Index. “Gender inequalities are most pronounced in the domains of power, time, and work. Italy has the lowest score of all EU Member States in the domain of work”. The domain of power encapsulates political, economic, and social power, whereas the domain of time evaluates women’s time spent on care and social activities. Lastly, the work domain considers employment rate, full-time equivalent employment rate, and the segregation and quality of work. Italy scored the highest in the health domain, 12th overall in the EU. The Health domain considers status, behaviour, and access.   

Italy has recently experienced a surge in interest in Women’s soccer in part due to regular TV coverage. Throughout the 2022-2023 season one Serie A Femminile game was broadcast on free-to-air television. Many attribute the increased visibility of the game and star players to an increase in the number of registered players and increased corporate interest. This upcoming World Cup with be broadcast live on the national public broadcasting channel.  

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Argentina is known as one of Latin America’s largest economies and remains a strong trading partner with the United States, China, and the European Union (EU). Various colonial powers at one point or another tried to cast their influences over Argentina starting with the Spanish in the 16th century. Upon gaining independence from the Spanish in 1816, the country of Argentina was formed  following the reintegration of the State of Buenos Aires with the Argentine Confederacy. The later half of the 1800s and early 1900s was a prosperous time for Argentina. In 1908, Argentina had the highest per capita income in the world.

The 1930s onwards was a time of unrest specially after both Argentina and Chile refused to break ties with Japan and Germany after the Japanese attack on a U.S. Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbour. This was accompanied by civil unrest as nationalist army officers seized political power. In 1945 , Argentina then declared war on Japan and Germany.

One of the most significant historical events in Argentine history was the 1946 presidential victory of Colonel Juan Peron . As Argentina’s economy flourished, under the glamour, opponents of the government were imprisoned, and independent media was suppressed. Power changed hands a few times over the years from Peron until Peron died in 1974. Armed forces subsequently seized power and 1976 saw the start of the Dirty War , a time during which thousands were killed or kidnapped and disappeared on suspicion of having leftist sympathies. Political unrest continues to follow Argentina into the present day, ranking 78 out of 180 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index - tying with China and Kuwait. Juan Peron’s legacy continues to live on as the Peronist Party alternated holding onto power.

The second significant moment in time for Argentina was the start of the Falklands War . Argentina had claimed sovereignty over the Falkland Islands that was being occupied by the British and thus occupied the Islands. This claim continued until 2013 when Falkland Islanders voted to remain a British territory.

In the early 2000s Argentina defaulted on an $800m to the World Bank. This was a blow to the economy especially after the International Monetary Fund stopped $1.3bn in aid funding to Argentina. The country now has one of the highest inflation rates globally and continues to struggle with its borrowing and loans.

Argentina is part of several regional Latin American partnerships including the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States; the Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture; and the Mercosur trade bloc. It had been a part of the U.S. supported Lima Group- dedicated to fostering Venezuelan democracy- but withdrew later. Internationally, Argentina belongs to the Group of Fifteen (G15), a forum for developing countries, and the Group of Twenty (G20), which comprises twenty of the world’s largest economies. It is also a founding member of the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and the World Trade Organization. Argentina had an interesting position of being friendly with both China and the U.S. with moves such as signing onto the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative in 2022 while voting with the U.S. on political decisions in international forums.

Argentina continues fighting for political stability and improving their human rights records while holding onto a significant seat of power within Latin America and internationally.

Gender Equity 

Argentina stated to UN Women that it “will use its gender equality laws to protect women and do more to increase their access to political decision-making. Argentina will seek to break cultural barriers that assign women to inferior roles, and aim to empower women not only as a matter of obligation under convention or international treaties, but through a deep conviction that it is time to end taboos and prejudice. Argentina equally pledges to ensure that its current high degree of equality will extend to youth and other sectors of society”. In the time following this 2015 statement Argentina has been lauded as being “at the forefront of the world” when it comes to political inclusion of women. “In recent years, Argentina has reinforced equality policies, adopting regulatory frameworks and actions with the aim of moving towards the construction of a parity democracy”. “The concept of parity (popularized after the “Athens Declaration” of 1992) considers that the status of political citizenship necessarily includes the balanced participation of men and women in the most diverse spheres of society: social, economic, and political. Since women are half of humanity and not a minority, the defence of the parity principle implies that they should not be reduced to a social category”. While Argentina has made significant traction when it comes to gender equality there are still areas for improvement. For example, pay equality remains an issue a woman in Argentina earns 79 pesos to a man’s 100 pesos, “this gap worsens among women with lower levels of qualification”. Further compounding this issue is that according to the “Inter-American Development Bank, 21% of the jobs held by women have higher chances of being automatized” 

If you are a fan of women’s football you will have noticed the absence of Argentina soccer star Estefania Banini for the past three years from international play. Banini “captained Argentina in the 2019 Women’s World Cup, which was the country’s first appearance since 2007. She then helped her country earn its first ever World Cup points with a pair of draws in the group stage” was then left off her national team roster for three years. “Banini was openly critical of Argentina’s coaching staff, training methods and resources, not feeling their were up to standard”. Banini and others who voiced similar concerns were left of the roster for the 2019 Pan American Games and for years following. With a change in coaching staff Banini received her long-awaited call to return to the national team. Banini officially returned in April 2022 for what will be her last World Cup.  

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Group H

Team Win Draw Loss Pts
Korea Republic0120

Ranked 9th of 167 countries on the Legatum Prosperity Index, Germany is a nation well-developed in pillars such as Enterprise Conditions and Infrastructure & Market Access, and has displayed stability through maintaining this position for more than a decade. However, it took the country years to reach this stage, as they were the face of significant political turmoil prior to the turn of the century. This included their membership as part of the Central Powers in World War I and as Nazi Germany of the Axis alliance in World War II, to which they both suffered defeat and the aftermath of the latter would spark a political divide that split the nation into two in the Cold War. West Germany sided with Western organizations such as the European Economic Community and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and continued to maintain membership following reunification with the East. The European Economic Community was one of the first pillars of the European Union (EU), founded in 1993, and involved the uniting of 27 nations in an effort to reduce the risk of future conflict. The EU has evolved from an economic union to one that covers many areas of policy such as security, international affairs, and the environment. Germany has the largest population of all member states and continues to be an active contributor to the EU. In more recent news, the nation stands as one of Ukraine’s greatest allies in their resistance against Russian invasion through the provision of financial and military aid.

With regards to gender equity, Germany continues to push for the betterment of women’s rights and opportunities. Considering suffrage, German women had obtained the right to vote in 1918 but it was revoked under the Nazi regime. What arose from World War II’s suppression was a wave of feminism in the following generation that rejected the authority of their parents who were affiliated with the crimes of the Nazi generation. Moving forward, Germany continues to push towards gender equality through contributing to UN’s 2030 Agenda and have a number of quantitative benchmarks that indicate the nation’s progress. By 2030, they aim to make the gender gap in average gross hourly earnings no more than 10%, increase the number of women on supervisory boards of listed companies by 30%, and ensure the professional qualification of at least 473,000 women through the German development aid. In the world of sport, women’s soccer continues to grow in interest across the country, especially considering their most recent success in placing second at the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022. Unfortunately, this development is hindered by the German Football Association (GFA), who continues to resist equal pay for men’s and women’s teams. Efforts made by Germany’s chancellor Olaf Scholz and other members of the German government continue to push for change.

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When Morocco became a French protectorate through the signing of the Treaty of Fez in 1912, the nation maintained its pre-colonial structure but was indirectly ruled and controlled through the incorporation of French administration. This system would play a critical role in the advancement of the nation. Through the construction of railways and roads, the French increased the exporting of their greatest resources, phosphate and agricultural produce, to develop a modern economy that appealed to settlers of the newly colonized land. Since its independence in 1956, Morocco continues to stand as a nation influential to Africa and the Arab world. Currently ruled by King Mohammad VI, the country has undergone significant political reform in the past decade. These changes were inspired by the anti-government uprising known as the Arab Spring and resulted in Morocco transitioning from a traditional monarchy to more of a hybrid government that encourages societal input through lessening the power of the king and increasing that of the prime minister and democratically elected parliament. Regarding relations with other countries, Morocco has a free-trade agreement with the United States that has stood since 2006. This has aided the nation in improving their business climate and establishing themselves as a hub for sales, finance, assembly, and shipping. The bilateral economic relations between the two countries have only increased since 2006, with the value of goods exported from Morocco to the US going from $446 million to $1.60 billion and exports from the US to Morocco rising from $481 million to $3.49 billion. On a more global scale, the country belongs to a number of international organizations including the Arab League, United Nations, and Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). A recent notable membership was Morocco’s readmission into the African Union (AU) after 33 years of absence as a result of the Western Sahara Conflict, though there is still ongoing dispute.

The Family Code, passed in 1958, subjected women to the authority of their husbands and prioritized the purpose of reproduction. When the Code was reformed in 2004, it marked the greatest progression towards gender equality for Moroccan women and finally gave them a voice in marriage and children. Some of the many advancements made by this change included the raising of the minimum age for women to get married to 18 years, allowing for property sharing between couples, retention of children’s custody for mothers, and improved inheritance rights. Though the change in policy was a grand step in the right direction for women’s rights, it is also important to recognize that years of living disadvantaged to men has resulted in further struggle. Morocco already struggles with issues of literacy and education, and of the 10 million citizens who cannot read or write, 62% are women. This plays into the lack of employment opportunities where Moroccan women only represent 25.5% of the active population. Progressions have been made by parliament and a task force created by UN Women to improve the gender gap in employment through implementing mandatory quotas in which women must occupy at least 30% by 2024 and 40% by 2027 of the boards of publicly traded companies. Regarding sport, soccer is one of the nation’s most popular sports and Morocco’s women’s team will be the first Arab nation to compete in the World Cup. They are also the only country in the world to have two tiers of professional women’s football, which has aided in the influence and spread of the game throughout North Africa.

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Previously a colony of Spain, Colombia emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830. While the nation has not had many large disputes with other countries since independence, it has long suffered from internal conflict. La Violencia was a ten-year civil war that took place between the Colombian Conservative and Liberal parties from 1948-1958. Resulting in over 200,000 casualties, the war left Colombia in a state of social tension and with a fragile economy. In the mid-1960s came the uprising of a group of farmers and land workers fighting against the nation’s security forces to reduce the levels of inequality seen throughout the country. Known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc), they quickly grew into Colombia’s greatest rebel group who were known to utilize explosives, landmines, and kidnap civilians for ransom as the primary means of communicating their message. A large portion of financing for the Farc was through the illegal drug trade and cultivation of coca plants, something that has become engrained in the country’s international reputation. Moving towards present day and legal resources, Colombia’s economy is built on commodity-driven industries with oil, coal, coffee, and gold being the nation’s top exports. Although it is classified as a country with an upper middle-income economy, the stark levels of inequality continue to place the nation as one of the highest in poverty rates and income disparity in the world.

The past two decades have shown major progress towards gender equality across the country. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index, Colombia ranks 22nd out of 153 countries, a number that is the product of numerous policy implementations. Since 2005, UN Women has worked with the nation to increase political leadership and participation, economic development, and put an end to gender violence. Through the quota law, it is required for women candidates on party electoral lists to comprise at least 30% of the total. In 2012, a plan to address the nation’s struggles with violence against women came in the form of the Public Policy Guidelines for Women’s Gender Equality and the Victims and Restitution of Land Law. Unfortunately, these efforts have not been successful, as 2021 saw only 18.8% of seats in parliament held by women and in 2018, 11.9% of women from the ages of 15 to 49 reported being victims of physical or sexual violence by their past or present intimate partners in the previous 12 months. Furthermore, the previously mentioned income inequality affecting the nation hits particularly hard for women living in rural areas as not only are there far fewer economic opportunities, social norms are much more traditionalist and favour the patriarchy. Considering soccer, the Colombian women’s team has faced numerous struggles in the past few years. Not qualifying for the 2019 Cup as a result of not having a head coach and a continued gender pay gap are just a few of the ways in which the Federation of Colombian Futbol has continued to discriminate against the women’s team.

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Although the end of World War II in 1945 came the fall of the Japanese Empire and the regain of independence for Korea, it also set forth the nation’s greatest political divide. The Korean War was a conflict between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which was backed by the Soviet Union, versus the Republic of Korea, aided by members of the United Nations such as the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. The lack of time between independence from Imperial Japan and the onset of partition left South Korea in economic ruin. Fortunately, through the development of export-oriented industries combined with strong education systems and government support, the nation has grown to become one of the world’s most industrialized countries. South Korea’s closest trading partners are the United States, Japan, and countries located in the Middle East, Eastern, and Southeastern Asia. These nations are among the 191 that they maintain diplomatic relations with and the country is a member of many different international organizations including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the World Health Organization, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

While the nation as a whole has developed significantly in the past century, there continues to be a hold out against progressions for women. The election of the country’s first female president, Park Geun-hye, in 2012 was seen as a large step forward for gender equality in Korea. Unfortunately, numerous corruption charges and abuse of power led to her impeachment from office in 2016 and the country has continued to backtrack even further with the recent election of current president Yoon Suk-yeol who is attempting to abolish the Gender Equality and Family Ministry. The ministry has been one of the sole drivers in progressing women’s rights in South Korea and operating in areas such as violence prevention, gender-equal workplaces, economic development, and providing overall support for feminism in Korean culture. Suk-yeol aims to rid of the ministry in an effort to address the country’s low birth rate, which is currently the worst in the world. Feminism and rejection of traditional views where women are obligated to reproduce and dedicate their lives to caregiving are what is believed to be the blame for the diminishing population size. Considering the nation already has the largest gender pay gap by a large margin with women earning 31 percent less than men, the abolishment of the ministry will only see the gap continue to grow in size.

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“FIFA’s vision is to make football truly global, diverse and inclusive, for the benefit of the entire world” 
- Gianni Infantino, President

See FIFA Organizational Profile

The UN Women organization is dedicated to gaining gender equality for women in various areas, along with the empowerment of women.

See UN Women Organizational Profile


"The upside to Canada being knocked out of the FIFA Women’s World Cup", by Tim Elcombe, The Conversation, August 2, 2023.

"The 2026 World Cup is coming to Canada: Time to get ready… politically!", by Tim Elcombe, Alanna Harman, and Alun Hardman, SIRC, July 19, 2023.

Student Projects

Tasha Cory

This student project completed by Tasha Cory examined the alignment of Continental strategic plans with FIFA’s strategic plan, as well as all of the participating countries at the Women’s World Cup. Tasha’s work highlights the inconsistencies of priorities and perhaps more importantly the lack of strategic plans for the women’s game.  Read more

Fatmanur Delioglu

Fatmanur Delioglu, a PhD Student explores how football is used to simultaneously bring groups of different people together while simultaneously reproducing forms of resistance. Delioglu provides a critical commentary on the use of football in Turkey to assist with integrating a growing refugee population. Delioglu provides examples of both successes and failures of using football to create peace and inclusivity.  Read more

Jonah Lee

Wilfrid Laurier student Jonah Lee proposed a model of the FIFA Women’s Football Complex. In his model Jonah explores the different meanings of “spotting success” from winning medals to building national pride, and addressing international social issues. The FIFA Women’s Football Complex highlights the various stakeholders involved in Women’s Football as well as the competing interests of these groups, and why the desired outcomes of these stakeholders are often unmet. Read more

Grace Mayhew

This video essay prepared by Wilfrid Laurier student Grace Mayhew considers the different factors that contribute to or are barriers to gender equity in professional sport. See Video

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