Recently chosen to officiate at this year’s World Cup, Yoshimi Yamashita knows that her role isn’t just about soccer. Rather, the first female referee ever to be picked for the game is making history simply by being there.
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Stephanie Frappart of France and Salima Mukansanga of Rwanda must be the same. They are 1 each out of 36 referees listed for Qatar with the rest—67 all men. FIFA also noted 3 women assistant referees among 69 left: Neuza Back of Brazil, Karen Diaz Medina of Mexico and Kathryn Nesbitt from the US.
Yamashita appreciates that her selection focused the attention on Japan’s low ranking in most measures of equal pay for women, and in global studies of gender equality.
“I would be very happy if women could play an active role in sports in this way, and if sports and especially soccer could lead this,” Yamashita said in an interview with The Associated Press. “In Japan, there is still a long way to go in the world of soccer (regarding participation of women), so it would be great if this could connect to the promotion of female participation in different ways, not only in soccer or in sports.”
The best known woman in refereeing, you’ll already recognize her work in the men’s World Cup qualifiers, Champions League, and international games. She even refereed this year’s women’s World Cup final, plus she officiated this past year’s French Cup Final.
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