The globalization and feminization of soccer: The twin factors of global dynamics and national structures

Research papers
By Marie-Stéphanie Abouna, Pascal Bourgeois

There is now a worldwide fervour around football played by women, in a context very much dominated by men. Is it appropriate to describe this phenomenon as feminisation and should we see it as a collective shift on a global scale? This study goes beyond the obvious and instead attempts to show both the extent and limits of this phenomenon with respect to football played by men and the degree to which the latter is established in different nations. It is based on a multivariate statistical analysis (ACP, ANOVA) that combines data from FIFA and national federations (number of players, track record in tournaments, performance) with three key international socio-economic indices: the Human Development Index (HDI), the Gender Development Index (GDI) and the Gender Inequality Index (GII). It is demonstrated that the feminisation or “womanisation” of football is not dependent on male participation in the sport. The process is occurring at different scales and within global and national configurations that are influenced by socio-economic, political and cultural factors, as well as the global context. Far from being an isolated phenomenon, womanisation appears to be a long and multi-faceted process of “glocalisation”.

  • Gender
  • feminisation/womanisation of football
  • globalisation/glocalisation
  • social configurations.
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