In March 2015, France won the right to host the event; the first time the country is hosting the tournament, and the third time by a European nation. The United States entered the competition as defending champions after winning the 2015 edition in Canada. It is also the first Women's World Cup to use the video assistant referee (VAR) system.
On 6 March 2014, FIFA announced that bidding had begun for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup. Member associations interested in hosting the tournament had to submit a declaration of interest by 15 April 2014, and provide the complete set of bidding documents by 31 October 2014. As a principle, FIFA preferred the 2019 Women's World Cup and the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup to be hosted by the same member association, but reserved the right to award the hosting of the events separately.
On 19 March 2015, France officially won the bid to host the Women's World Cup and the U-20 Women's World Cup. The decision came after a vote by the FIFA Executive Committee. Upon the selection, France became the fourth country to host both men's and women's World Cup, having hosted the men's tournament in 1938 and 1998.
The slot allocation was approved by the FIFA Council on 13–14 October 2016. The slots for each confederation are unchanged from those of the previous tournament except the slot for the hosts has been moved from CONCACAF (Canada) to UEFA (France).
The 24 teams were allocated to four pots based on the FIFA Women's World Rankings released on 7 December 2018, with hosts France automatically placed in Pot 1 and position A1 in the draw. Teams from Pot 1 were drawn first and assigned to Position 1. This was followed by Pot 2, Pot 3, and finally Pot 4, with each of these teams also drawn to one of the positions 2–4 within their group. No group could contain more than one team from each confederation apart from UEFA, which have nine teams, where three groups had to contain two UEFA teams.
Each team has to provide to FIFA a preliminary squad of between 23 and 50 players by 26 April 2019, which shall not be published. From the preliminary squad, each team has to name a final squad of 23 players (three of whom must be goalkeepers) by 24 May 2019. Players in the final squad can be replaced by a player from the preliminary squad due to serious injury or illness up to 24 hours prior to kickoff of the team's first match.
In the knockout stage, if a match is level at the end of 90 minutes of normal playing time, extra time is played (two periods of 15 minutes each), where each team is allowed to make a fourth substitution. If the score is still level after extra time, the winners are determined by a penalty shoot-out.
The emblem and slogan were launched on 19 September 2017 at the Musée de l'Homme in Paris. The emblem mimics the shape of the World Cup trophy and features a stylised football surrounded by eight decorative shards of light, symbolising the eighth edition of the Women’s World Cup. It alludes to several French cultural icons:
FIFA and the local organising committee sold tickets for the Women's World Cup beginning with a pre-sale of individual tickets in December 2018, single-city ticket packages in late 2018, and single-ticket sales for the general public beginning on 7 March 2019. The online platform, hosted by AP2S, permitted fans to print their tickets beginning on 20 May 2019, which included seating assignments that had separated ticketholders who had purchased their tickets as a group or family. FIFA responded to online complaints by referring to a warning in the online system that had reminded purchasers that its tickets would not be guaranteed in the same areas, inciting further outrage, but allowed families with underage children to have adjacent seating.
The official mascot, "ettie", was unveiled on 12 May 2018 at the TF1 Group headquarters, and was broadcast on LCI. She made her first public appearance in Paris in front of the iconic Eiffel Tower. FIFA describe her as "a young chicken with a passion for life and football" and state that "she comes from a long line of feathered mascots, and is the daughter of Footix, the Official Mascot of the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France".
The World Cup will be used by UEFA to qualify three teams for the 2020 Summer Olympic women's football tournament in Japan. The three European teams with the best World Cup results (considering only the round they reach) will qualify. If there are teams in contention for Olympic spots eliminated in the same round, a maximum of four teams (those with the best World Cup group stage results should there be more than four teams eliminated in the same round) advance to play-offs in early 2020 to decide the remaining spot(s).
For the first time, as per the agreement between the four British football associations (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales), Great Britain will attempt to qualify for the Olympics through England's performance in the World Cup (a procedure already successfully employed by Team GB in field hockey and rugby sevens). Scotland also qualified for the World Cup but, under the agreement whereby the highest ranked home nation is nominated to compete for the purposes of Olympic qualification, their performance will not be taken into account. In effect, therefore, eight European teams will be competing for three qualification places.
With seven of the eight quarter-finalists being European teams, the need for separate Olympic qualifying play-offs was eliminated. The two remaining qualification scenarios will depend on the outcome of the France v United States quarter-final as follows:
If the United States advance, the three remaining semi-finalists, all guaranteed to be European teams, will qualify for the Olympics;
If France advance, all four semi-finalists are guaranteed to be European teams, so the two finalists and the winner of the third place match will qualify for the Olympics.
The final's scheduling on 7 July led to a degree of criticism among supporters of women's football, as two continental men's tournament finals will be held on the same day—the Copa América in Rio de Janeiro and the CONCACAF Gold Cup in Chicago. The lack of outdoor advertising across Paris, except for the Parc des Princes stadium and the temporary World Cup museum at Châtelet, was also criticised.
The Women's World Cup was the first major competition to use the updated Laws of the Game approved by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which came into effect on 1 June 2019. Among the changes, the more severe punishment of goalkeeper encroachment during penalty kicks—including retakes after a video assistant referee review—gained the most attention and caused several successful saves to be disallowed in the group stage. The use of the Women's World Cup as a "guinea pig" for the new changes to the rules was also criticised by footballers and coaches for being potentially sexist, as several concurrent men's continental competitions had not implemented them. Following widespread criticism and a request from FIFA, the IFAB issued a temporary dispensation to waive the requirement to show goalkeepers a yellow card for stepping off the line during a penalty shootout during the knockout stage of the Women's World Cup.
The round of 16 fixture between England and Cameroon was marred by misbehaviour of some Cameroonian players, who refused to kick-off for several minutes after the second English goal, deliberately fouled several players, and argued with the referee while huddling around her. Cameroonian defender Augustine Ejangue was also seen on camera spitting at English winger Toni Duggan after conceding an indirect free kick in the penalty area, from which England later scored. After the match, England manager Phil Neville said it "didn't feel like football" and that he was "completely and utterly ashamed of the opposition".Confederation of African Football (CAF) condemned some of the action taken in the match, while also criticising the refereeing, while FIFA announced that it would investigate the match.