June 26 2020 New Zealanders awoke to a collective shriek of glee, FIFA had voted and decided that the 2023 Women’s World Cup Football will be hosted jointly by New Zealand and Australia. A first time that two countries from different soccer regions are hosting the tournament (NZ comes under Oceania and Australia come under Asia). Jacinda Ardern, our third woman prime minister, was particularly overjoyed. She had spent the previous week on the phones reassuring those casting votes that this was something the government and all of NZ supported with $25 million put aside for tournament preparations. Ardern’s response to the good news:
“It will be an historic event…we are looking forward to delivering the best ever FIFA Women’s World Cup in both nations, one that will elevate the women’s game and inspire women and girls around the world."
The NZ women’s team, ‘the Football Ferns’ are understandably ecstatic. Although they are ranked 23rd in the world they will be assured a place in the tournament, and will be part of a family of players including international heroes like Megan Rapinoe. The US have won the previous two tournaments and will be huge favourites.
New Zealand LOVES sport and also loves inspiring young women, for whom the ceiling is looking pretty high right now because the four most powerful jobs in the country are all presently held by women:
Jacinda Ardern with her firm and successful approach to dealing with Covid-19 and her constant call for kindness in these difficult times, has made her one of NZ’s most popular prime ministers ever, polling at just under 60% in July 2020. Not bad for an unmarried mum who just turned 40.
Judith Collins is the no-nonsense leader of the NZ Opposition Party and as a seasoned politician is going to be the biggest obstacle to Ardern winning a second term in parliament in this year’s election.
Dame Helen Winkelmann – is NZ’s Chief Justice (NZ’s head judge).
Dame Patsy Reddy – is NZ’s Governor General (the Queen’s representative for NZ).
Women are rocking it big time!!
Video: New Zealand to host FIFA Women's World Cup alongside Australia (YouTube)