Skip main navigation
We use cookies to give you a better experience, if that’s ok you can close this message and carry on browsing. For more info read our cookies policy.
We use cookies to give you a better experience. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or read our cookies policy for more information.
Action at a World Cup match

Women: World Cup champions and rankings

According to FIFA there are 29 million women and girls playing football worldwide.

What do I need to do?

  • Read the information below.

  • There are a number of further resources available at the end of this article that may be of interest to those looking for further depth on the topic of women and football.

  • Consider the changes, trends and progress in women’s football.

Participation in women’s football in Europe

In Europe alone, UEFA noted the following for season 2013-14:

  • 1,162,314 registered female players

  • 48 national women’s football leagues

  • 719,098 registered female youth players

  • 25,313 women’s senior teams

  • 21,285 female youth teams

  • 69,533 clubs with women’s teams

  • 11 national associations with national academies for girls

  • 7,505 female referees

  • 39 national associations with women’s football committees

  • 369 national association coaches working in women’s football

  • 464 female members of national association committees in Europe

  • €80,679,700 spent on women’s football by national associations in 2012/13

Governance

As of January 2016 only two of the 209 Presidents of the Member Associations of FIFA are women but the new incoming President has made changes.

Growth of women’s football in Europe

With just 40 registered players in 2008, it is easier for Andorra to record a large percentage increase than it is for Norway, which had 107,500 registered players in 2008. In percentage terms, Romania (511%) and Kazakhstan (446%) have seen the largest increases over the last five years, while in absolute terms, Turkey (46,353) and the Netherlands (11,734) lead the way.

As the number of registered players increases, so do the resources dedicated to women’s football. The total amount of money invested in the sport is almost three times higher than it was in the 2012-13 season. Indeed, all of the figures for women’s football are higher for the 2013-14 season than they were for the 2012-13 season, which supports the notion that there has been progress within women’s football in Europe. It should be noted that one additional national association (Gibraltar) has joined UEFA, which may affect these figures to a certain extent.

In the UK, England has played a major role with its new ‘Game Changer’ strategy, which seeks to increase investment and attract more funding for women’s football.

Women’s World Cup

The first FIFA Women’s World Championship was held in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1991, fulfilling a pledge made by then FIFA President João Havelange at the 1986 FIFA Congress in Mexico City. The US women took the new trophy and set new standards for their female colleagues around the world. The next iterations of the FIFA flagship competition for women were held in Sweden (1995), the USA (1999 and 2003), PRC (2007), Germany (2011) and Canada (2015).

In 2015, the women’s tournament was hosted from 6 June to 5 July by Canada, who won the right to host the event in March 2011. The 2015 event was the seventh FIFA Women’s World Cup, as the women’s football world championship tournament is a quadrennial international event. However, the event has not been without its controversies, most notably in the lead up to the tournament when a number of players filed a lawsuit against FIFA’s ruling that the tournament would be played on artificial turf, and not the traditional grass that the men’s tournament is played on.

World rankings

In June 2015, Germany led the world rankings in women’s football with USA in second. Brazil, Canada and Norway have all progressed up and Korea (DPR), China and the Netherlands have all fallen slightly. In June 2014 the PRC achieved their best ranking since 2011.

The USA went back to the top of the FIFA rankings after winning the 2015 FIFA World Cup, beating Japan in the final.

At June 2016 the USA, Germany, France, England and Australia held the top five places in a league table of 177 teams. Has this changed? see the link below.

You can see the most up-to-date rankings by clicking on the link below.

FIFA Women’s World Rankings

What’s next?

We now progress to the video by Dr Grey, before discussing ways to challenge gender stereotypes.

Share this article:

This article is from the free online course:

Football: More than a Game

The University of Edinburgh

Contact FutureLearn for Support