Women’s football made considerable progress in 2015, not only because of a successful FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in Canada but also through the unprecedented number of development programmes implemented across the globe.
Looking back over the past 12 months, 130 member associations benefited from one or more of the nine FIFA development programmes targeted specifically for women’s football, comparing impressively against 94 members associations in 2014 and 67 in 2013. A record 451 activities were organised exclusively for women’s football, up from 257 in 2014 and 143 in 2013, and there were 102 FIFA projects to support women’s leagues and competitions around the world – again an increase from 2014 (94) and 2013 (21).
Another impressive figure is the number of girls reached through Live Your Goals – FIFA’s dedicated development campaign to strengthen the image of women’s football and to increase the number of girls and young women who play and participate in football. In 2015, 40,000 girls took part in Live Your Goals festivals, which was a vast increase from 13,738 in 2014 and 8,700 in 2013.
Meanwhile, 33 women took part in the inaugural edition of FIFA’s Female Leadership Development Programme, seven women received FIFA scholarships to support them in enrolling for an “A” licence coaching programme, and almost 2,000 coaches were involved in women’s football education courses.
There is more progress to look forward to, with FIFA having doubled its funding for women’s football-specific programmes for 2015-2018 compared to the previous four-year cycle. Aside from these, member associations can also seek support for their women’s football initiatives through other programmes such as the Goal Programme, the PERFORMANCE Programme, and FIFA Grassroots for boys and girls.
In line with the ten key principles for women’s football development, FIFA’s programmes subscribe to the philosophy that every girl and woman should have the right to play football. More opportunities must be made available in coaching, administration and management, while sustainable competitions need to be developed for girls and women.
Unfortunately, female representation at executive and decision-making levels is particularly limited. The findings of the FIFA Women’s Football Survey 2014 showed only eight percent of executive committee members at member association level are female.
“There is much more that can be done to explore the potential of girls and women in football,” says Mayi Cruz Blanco, FIFA Senior Women’s Football Development Manager. “FIFA can lead the way, but the support of the 209 member associations is also crucial to achieve our vision: football as an equal playing field for women and men.”