Nau mai haere mai.

Just down the road from where I live, the local football club will soon become the New Zealand base for the Norwegian team during the FIFA Women’s World Cup. My kids both played on those pitches. It’s exciting to make a connection, however slight, with the elite level of the sport.

But the same club has recently been involved in a controversy over unequal treatment of its top men’s and women’s teams. It’s a microcosm of the gender equity issues facing sport globally – and which FIFA has pledged to make a focus of its own funding and development policies.

Indeed, the successful trans-Tasman bid for this year’s World Cup hosting rights – branded “As One” – made much of the tournament’s potential to raise the profile of the women’s game and drive participation at all levels by young players.

But as Julie Brice and Holly Thorpe explain, there is precious little evidence of any trickle-down or “inspiration” effect from major events like World Cups and Olympics. “In fact,” they write, “many of the promises made during bids and later promotion of the events – increased participation, more investment in leagues – go unrealised.”

That’s not to say the World Cup, kicking off in just over a fortnight, won’t have a positive impact. But it will depend on long term investment and a commitment to “building opportunities for girls and young women to participate in safe, supportive, and truly inclusive sporting environments”.

Please also take the time to enjoy Jennifer Curtin’s excellent and personalised view of the new citizenship rules across the Tasman, which this week restored a little good faith and fair go to our neighbourly relations. Until next week, mā te wā.

Finlay Macdonald

New Zealand Editor

Long-range goals: can the FIFA World Cup help level the playing field for all women footballers?

Julie E. Brice, California State University, Fullerton ; Holly Thorpe, University of Waikato

The successful Australia-New Zealand bid for the Women’s World Cup made much of the tournament’s potential to build the game for girls and young women. History suggests this is easier said than done.

As new Aussie citizenship rules kick in, the ‘fair go’ finally returns to trans-Tasman relations

Jennifer Curtin, University of Auckland

Previous changes to Australian citizenship rules for Kiwis went against the history and the spirit of intertwined trans-Tasman connections. The new rules put things back on track at last.

School of last resort: how to fix NZ’s vital but ignored alternative education system

Adrian Schoone, Auckland University of Technology

Despite a ‘damning’ report, the alternative education system still works wonders with students outside the mainstream. What it needs is more money and commitment.

India could soon be the world’s third biggest economy – NZ needs to build the trade relationship urgently

Rahul Sen, Auckland University of Technology

New Zealand is falling well behind Australia in its economic relationship with India. Catching up will require significant political engagement.

A neutrino portrait of our galaxy reveals high-energy particles from within the Milky Way

Jenni Adams, University of Canterbury

Neutrinos are some of nature’s most elusive particles, but new research has used them to create an image of our own galaxy.

NZ workers have unacceptably high exposures to carcinogens – they need better protection and long-term health monitoring

John Donne Potter, Massey University; Amanda Eng, Massey University

New Zealand has a poor record when it comes to banning carcinogenic products, even though cancer accounts for about half of 750-900 annual deaths from diseases caused by occupational exposure.

Bailout, Band-Aid or back to basics? 3 questions NZ’s university funding review must ask

Nicola Gaston, University of Auckland

The $128 million funding boost for the tertiary sector is only a stop-gap measure. But it can buy time for a genuine rethink of the entire system.

From our foreign editions

Astronomers see ancient galaxies flickering in slow motion due to expanding space

Geraint Lewis, University of Sydney

Bright, flickering galaxies called quasars were thought to pose a problem for our understanding of the cosmos – but new research shows Einstein was right yet again.

French riots follow decades-old pattern of rage, with no resolution in sight

François Dubet, Université de Bordeaux

Efforts have been made to improve housing in working-class neighbourhoods, yet the social and cultural mix has deteriorated. What remains is a face-off between young people and the police.

Australian researchers confirm world’s first case of dementia linked to repetitive brain trauma in a female athlete

Stephen Townsend, The University of Queensland; Alan Pearce, La Trobe University; Rebecca Olive, RMIT University

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a devastating form of dementia, which causes a decline in brain functioning and increased risk of mental illness.

ChatGPT took people by surprise – here are four technologies that could make a difference next

Fabian Stephany, University of Oxford; Johann Laux, University of Oxford

New forms of AI are waiting in the wings, but society may decide there are ethical problems using them.

Intermittent fasting could help protect the brain from age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s

Claudia Ntsapi, University of the Free State

Alzheimer’s disease is the most prevalent form of dementia. This is a term used to describe a range of symptoms linked to the decline in brain function with age.

Senegal: behind the protests is a fight for democratic freedoms

Rachel Beatty Riedl, Cornell University; Bamba Ndiaye, Emory University

President Macky Sall’s previous ambiguity on a third-term bid, perception of a weaponised justice system and arbitrary detention of opposition are the drivers of political violence in Senegal.

The Global South is on the rise – but what exactly is the Global South?

Jorge Heine, Boston University

Terms like ‘Third World’ and ‘developing nations’ have long fallen out of fashion.

Human exposure to wildfires has more than doubled in two decades – read this if you’re planning fireworks on July 4

Mojtaba Sadegh, Boise State University

Nearly 22 million people lived within 3 miles of a US wildfire in the past two decades. A new study tracking their locations flips the script on who is at risk.