England Lionesses euro 2022 winners celebration

Lionesses win is a triumph for football, women and business

By revealing the synergies between sport and economy, women and excellence and business and leisure, the Wembley-win shows how a step towards equality is a step towards a better landscape for business.

As with so many industries, female professionals are disadvantaged by a lack of precedence or history within the workspace. Women weren’t allowed to play on FA grounds until the 70s, more than 100 years after the FA was formed, so it is no surprise that their funding and exposure is a mere undertone of their male counterparts. However, the demonstration of excellence at Wembley is pivotal for women across all industries. 

Mandy Lamb, Managing Director, UK & Ireland, Visa, commented: “Small businesses are the backbone of the economy, and 2022 has seen a record number of women starting up on their own. At Visa, we’re proud to be the first-ever standalone sponsor of UEFA Women’s Football and to play our part in championing diversity and inclusion, both on and off the pitch. We’re using our sponsorship of the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022™ to shine a spotlight on how skills learned in sports are having a positive impact on the success of small businesses and the wider economy.”

A report funded by Investec shows that women who play sport achieve higher levels of educational qualifications than women who do not play sport, and women who play sport are more likely to be in senior management roles than those who do not. These crucial statistics show that sport can be linked with positive outcomes for women starting and pursuing their careers, elevating the workforce – 21% of businesses are more likely to experience above-average profitability if the workforce is gender-diverse – and therefore within the broader business economy. Sarah Austin, Founder of the British Business Excellence Awards, notes, ‘It’s crucial for young girls to see powerful, successful and talented women as they enter the world of business, and the England team are exactly the sort of role models the next generation needs.

The 2022 Women’s Euro has also created a ‘commercial blueprint’ for the future of the competition. This seems frustratingly obvious for American player Megan Rapinoe, who told The Guardian “It’s like a literal gold mine and I just don’t understand.” She quickly follows with, “I mean, I do understand: it’s sexism and patriarchy.” A report by EY predicts that the tournament will generate £54 million in economic activity for the cities hosting matches, not to mention the sponsorship investment. Additional reports suggest that women’s sport could boost the economy by £1 billion by 2030, proving that the commercial viability, and the attitude to women in sport, might finally be starting to shift.