In Iran, female FIFA fans were banned from the games.
Now, the policy is changing.
Earlier this year, Iranian women watched FIFA 2022 qualifying matches. Aljazeera reported that female supervisors at special stadium entrances directed the women to the sections set aside for them and requested head scarves. Then this week, further loosening the rules, the women attended a domestic match at Tehran’s Azadi stadium.
Since the Islamic revolution in 1979, foreign women had some access to football matches in stadiums where men were playing, but not local women. When women protested last March, they were greeted with pepper spray. Defending the ban, Iranian officials cited men’s raucous behavior and inadequate infrastructure.
Reporters hypothesized that there could have been consequences from FIFA if the ban remained.
Our Bottom Line: Underutilization
In the WEF Global Gender Report 2022, at #143, Iran was almost last. Judged on criteria that related to education (#106), politics (#142), economics (#144), and health (#118), Iran did not fare well. In addition, Iran has made little progress in closing its gender gap.
As economists, through a production possibilities frontier, we can illustrate the impact of Iran’s low rank with underutilization. Whereas our curved line shows an economy’s maximum production potential, the dot indicates underutilization. For Iran, that dot should be left and low because females do far less than they could do:
Increasing the female contribution to FIFA could move the dot to the right.
My sources and more: For my daily walks, I especially look forward to the BBC World News Report. I thank them for alerting me to the Iran football story. From there, VOA and Reuters had some history while the WEF Global Gender Report 2022 completed the picture. Our featured image and more facts were from CNN.