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Former World Cup champion Brandi Chastain on women’s role & representation in sport




Soccer: World Cup, USA Brandi Chastain victorious after scoring winning penalty kick as teammates celebrate in final vs CHN, Pasadena, CA July 10, 1999.
Soccer: World Cup, USA Brandi Chastain victorious after scoring winning penalty kick as teammates celebrate in final vs CHN, Pasadena, CA July 10, 1999.
Robert Beck/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

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After coming up just short in 2011 against Japan, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team are back on the pitch in Canada, trying to bring another World Cup back stateside.

So far, things are looking good for the Americans, who pulled out an easy 3-1 win over Australia in their first game of group play. They will face Sweden on Friday and Nigeria next Tuesday, and with solid play in both of those games, should be one of the 16 teams who advance to the elimination rounds.

If you’ve never watched the U.S. Women’s team play, you’re missing out on quite a spectacle. They’re a perennial powerhouse and always a favorite to be in the final stages of World Cup competition. Yet despite the ladies’ prowess on the pitch and a recent increase in American’s interest in the beautiful game, women’s soccer (and women’s sports in general) are vastly under-covered when it comes to the media.

Data suggests that there’s been a decline in the tendency to portray female athletes as sexualized objects, and that the trend has been replaced by a tendency to look at female athletes in their roles as mothers, the vast majority of sports media coverage goes towards the big three: pro and college men’s basketball, football, and baseball.

How are women represented in sports today? Do the media give enough attention to women’s sports? How much has women’s soccer grown in popularity in the last 20 years?

‘‘It’s Dude Time!’’: A Quarter Century of Excluding Women’s Sports in Televised News and Highlight Shows

Looking for a spot to watch your favorite team? Check out KPCC’s guide to where to watch the Women’s World Cup:

Guests:

Kavitha A. Davidson, sports columnist at Bloomberg View. Her latest article is titled “Reform FIFA? Treat Women Fairly First.”

Cheryl Cooky, associate professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Purdue University. She’s also co-author of the report  "It’s Dude Time!” A Quarter Century of Excluding Women’s Sports in Televised News and Highlight Shows."

Brandi Chastain, retired soccer player and former member of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. Her game-winning penalty kick during the 1999 Women’s World Cup Final led the U.S. to a win over China. Chastain is now a coach for the varsity soccer team at Bellarmine College Preparatory School in San Jose.