Between the lines

More gender equality means better women’s soccer teams

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Here’s an interesting statistic on the heels of the U.S. Women’s soccer team’s historic World Cup win: countries that have stronger gender equality, also have better women’s soccer teams. Kuang Keng Kuek Ser, a journalism fellow at Public Radio International, looked at the 23 countries with the best performing women’s soccer teams, and found that the top teams had a couple of things in common. “All of them are from countries where soccer is a popular sport, and most of them are from countries with a high Gross Domestic Product. Right. What else? They are also from countries where the gender gap is smaller,” he writes. Ser looked at the correlation between amount of FIFA points and the gender equality index developed by the U.N., and found that teams that scored more than 1,800 FIFA points were all from countries where gender disparity is below 30 percent — except for Brazil. The U.S. is actually a bit of an exception, as well: while it ranks in the top 20 for gender equality worldwide, it has less gender equality than could be expected from a team with this kind of success (and less than Japan!). This correlation probably warrants some closer study, but it should probably come as no surprise that countries that give their women better opportunities also end up with stronger athletes.

Read the full story at Vox.

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