On Sunday, August 20, 2023, the Women’s World Cup officially ended. For our futbol/soccer fanatics, the World Cup commences every four years. The Men’s World Cup, finishing last year, has about 5 billion watchers, while the Women’s World Cup has about 1.12 billion watchers. Within our large international community of over 225,000+ DECA Members, many of our members most certainly fall into the category of those who follow the World Cup Tournament every four years.
In recognition of the Women’s World Cup commencing this August, I’d like to highlight the phenomenal growth of the Women’s World Cup Tournament. Through the societal growth we’ve witnessed in women’s sports, the first Women’s World Cup was held in 1991 in the United States. It’s been incredible to see the expansion of women’s national teams playing in the World Cup and the growth in our membership in the High School Division of DECA internationally!
Below, I will share the Women’s World Cup’s growth and how it applies to DECA’s growth and expansion.
The Early Days
FIFA, wary of adding Women to the World Cup stage, hosted a women’s invitational in China in 1988, bringing together 12 teams, including a nascent U.S. team. Once FIFA saw the amount of talent and involvement, they decided to start planning the first Women’s World Cup. Through advocating for women’s sports, the first Women’s World Cup commenced in 1991.
Before 1946, Distributive Education students were employed in training programs after school. Although acquiring business skills, students realized their lack of involvement in other clubs and extracurricular activities, and so began the organization of Distributive Education Clubs. Between 1941 and 1944, these new clubs began communicating and holding state-wide meetings between organizations. Once clubs of this manner gained popularity, they met to form a national organization, DECA. It was through passion, advocacy and effort that DECA was able to launch in 1946.
For the first time, in 2023, the Women’s World Cup had a full field of 32 teams! This has finally allowed countries such as Ireland, the Philippines and Zambia to make their first debuts in this tournament. It took a long time to develop this tournament, and this year, FIFA can proudly say that the Women’s World Cup hit some phenomenal milestones.
Since its founding, DECA has progressed to have over 225,000 members worldwide currently. DECA currently has four divisions: High School, Collegiate, Professional, and Alumni.
All growth starts from a low point! The growth of the Women’s World Cup changed the reality of equality in women’s sports. Likewise, the growth of DECA changed co-curricular education and is the premier career and technical student organization for business, marketing, finance, hospitality, and entrepreneurship. For DECA to have over 225,000+ High School Division members, it took passionate members advocating for our organization for over 75 years! Seeing this growth speaks miles to how advocating and building takes time.
With your chapters and associations, remember that growth not only takes time but also passion, effort and consistent advocacy. Growth stems from consistency!