During the 2018 FIFA Men’s World Cup, we ran a series of articles in collaboration with our partners at Hack Pack. But this year, as women soccer players took center-stage, we haven’t run a single article. Women’s sports — and their lack of support by countries, clubs, media and fans — have long been a symbol of the larger fight for equality around the globe. So we have to ask ourselves, are we the problem?
While we haven’t been posting, we sure have been watching — engrossed, like many fans, in the nail-biting matches, political and social battles, and of course, the social media content.
What has most impressed us (besides the skill and athleticism of the players, of course) is the excellent reporting surrounding the event. Below, we’ve collected six reporting highlights from the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
Goal Click is a global photography project that allows soccer players around the world to share their stories. They send people analog cameras and ask them to capture their own worlds as they relate to soccer. In late 2018, they sent these cameras to women soccer players, asking them to document their lives ahead of the 2019 World Cup tournament in France.
The resulting photos show ice baths, rainy practices and visits to the weight room, as well as social events, celebrations and camaraderie. Photographers are asked a series of questions to accompany their photos, allowing them to share the challenges they face as women soccer players in their countries.
Goal Click blurs the lines between art and reporting, allowing sources to tell personal stories through the intimate photos they capture.
What’s sports journalism without some data? We know there are a lot of people gathering stats, but we liked this simple, straightforward look from BBC at things like viewership, highest scorers, prize money, sponsorship and more. They pull from a number of other sources to give a quick look at the need-to-know stats from the tournament.
After winning the 2019 Women’s World Cup, U.S. team member Megan Rapinoe gave her brother, Brian, a birthday shoutout. The story behind that message is more complicated than it appears, and Gwendolyn Oxenham breaks it down in a profile published by ESPN.
The profile focuses on Brian, who has spent the majority of his adult life in prison. Oxenham pulls from text messages between the siblings, as well as interviews with them both, to tell a story of addiction, prison, racism, recovery — and soccer.
Women are competing for a lot more than a trophy, they’re fighting for equality. After the U.S. victory over the Netherlands, fans stood up to cheer “Equal Pay! Equal Pay!”
Politicians joined the chorus of voices calling for better compensation, including Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton and more. The U.S. Women’s National Team recently filed a class action lawsuit claiming they are not treated equally to the U.S. Men’s National Team. Some of these issues are laid out in an article from Julie Kliegman for The Ringer, “Nothing and Everything Has Changed for the USWNT.”
There’s a bit more to the pay gap controversy, according to fact-checkers at The Washington Post. To better understand the pay disparity — including how income and bonuses are determined — you can’t miss this article from The Post’s Meg Kelly.
Prefer your fact-checks in video form? They’ve got you covered.
Vox’s The Goods is a section dedicated to the things we buy, and even they’ve taken a World Cup angle. Reporter Kaitlyn Tiffany breaks down what she (and I) argue is the “coolest” look of all time: soccer girl.
Tiffany covers it all, from defining the aesthetic to tracing its origins, and she ends with a look at how the fashion industry has notoriously overlooked women’s soccer for many years, while still incorporating men’s soccer-inspired looks.
If you want to understand a bit more about why those players look so cool, while also digging into larger topics like pay disparity, LGBTQ+ rights and more, you don’t want to miss Tiffany’s piece.
Bonus: This article includes references to Bend It Like Beckham, 10 Things I Hate About You and more of the coolest “soccer girl” movies.
Share with us some of your favorite stories from the 2019 Women's World Cup on Twitter and Facebook by tagging us, or using the hashtag #IJNet. We want to hear about the stories that were published in your country, and those published in languages other than English.