The GUERREIRASPROJECT is an international gender justice initiative that uses futebol as a tool to reveal, explore and address gender prejudice. We provide spaces for making gender visible and entering into dialogue to create possibilities for more equitable and sustainable ways of being.
Our team is made up of athletes, artists, academics and activists who together carry out workshops, training sessions, exhibitions, research, performances, and presentations to create space for critical awareness of gender through reflection and action.
We use futebol as a tool to generate dialogue around gender norms. We believe that the same narrow gender norms found in futebol are reflected in society at large and sit at the root of many social justice issues. Research has revealed that rigid, narrow codes of traditional masculinity and femininity drive lower educational outcomes, poorer reproductive health outcomes, and homophobic and gender-based violence. These issues cannot be addressed without challenging deeply rooted gender norms. We believe that the universally recognised language of futebol can serve as one of the most powerful, effective and accessible tools for this work, and an innovative instrument for deep-seated change.
We work with professional female football players to encourage women and girls’ involvement in sport, challenge gender and racial prejudice, and promote safe and democratic attitudes through physical activity and dialogue. Female players are empowered as community ambassadors of sport and become visible role models for young girls and boys. These women go into the community and lead workshops where they tell their narratives, discuss the ‘preconceito’ (prejudice) within the women’s game, and create safe spaces for youth to reflect on and give voice to their experiences in and around women’s futebol. Through this work, female players build their confidence, voice and self-esteem, while encouraging youth to challenge their own gender biases, share their stories, and ask questions as steps towards ‘mudando cabeças’ (moving minds) about what women are capable of doing and becoming.
We use narratives, story-telling, still imagery, ambient sound, and film from women’s futebol to open up space for critical reflection around gender norms. The GUERREIRASPROJECT launched its first multimedia initiative at an international exhibition at the Brazilian Embassy in Berlin, Germany during the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. We will put on Part II of this exhibition at the 2014 FIFA Men’s World Cup in Brazil next June.
We bring embodied knowledge of gender and sport and we discuss the game of women’s football in relation to our experiences as female players. We incorporate academic research, theories, histories, narratives and voices from within this deeply gendered subculture and raise questions around the regulation of bodies, the significance of empowerment, possibilities for resistance, and social justice within and beyond the game.
Our team is comprised of gender researchers, writers, academics, consultants, athletes and artists with a commitment to feminist values and to opening up spaces around gender. We work to build strong connections with intersecting movements and to continue to devise strategies for joining forces along lines of sexuality, race, class and nationality. We work closely with the Gender Institute at the London School of Economics (LSE) and the Gender Hub in the UK.
Check us out in Action
We are fueled by the energy people are bringing to the conversation and together we have been sparking gender dialogues through futebol in Berlin, London, Accra, New York, Providence, Recife, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Port of Spain, Trinidad. Check out some of our work below:
The GUERREIRASPROJECT partnered with The People Speak in London to carry out Futebol & Gender dialogues. These dialogue sessions use The People Speak’s Talkaoke participant-led engagement techniques and tools as the catalyst for engagement on the theme of gender norms. Participants are presented with audio interviews, still imagery and ambient sound from Brazilian women’s futebol, which highlight the way the women’s game is beginning to move from the margins towards the mainstream of Brazilian culture. It draws attention to some of the tensions that accompany these shifts as female players share their experiences of stigma and prejudice in their struggle to play the game. These voices and stories are then used to stimulate a broader discussion around gender role and relations– both within and beyond futebol—among participants.
A pilot sessions were held at The People Speak studios in Hackney, London.
love.fútbol/GUERREIRASPROJECT visita a comunidade de Brasília Teimosa em Recife, Pernambuco, November 2012
“Sim. Muitas pessoas criticam o futebol feminino por dizer que e coisa de homem. Mas que os homens são capazes de fazer as mulheres também são.” – Gleya Cavalcanto da Silva, 14
“Acho que todos somos iguais e direitos são iguais.” – Evellyn Cristian G. da S., 16
“Guerreiras in the Community”, Recife, Brasil
November 27, 2012
Reflection by Anna Fiastro, Guerreiras Project Coordinator, Recife
“Pina is a ‘favela’, or low-income community located just south of Recife’s wealthier high-rise beach-front neighborhood, Boa Viagem. It is a pile of brick houses clustered along the waterfront with trash, stray dogs, and graffiti painting the scene in front of the ocean backdrop. The area has a history of violence and an ever-growing crack-use problem, especially among the kids and young adults. Luizinho has started a youth soccer program in the community to offer an alternative to the drug use and selling opportunities dangled in front of the kids from an early age. He has been able to receive funding for equipment and shirts for the kids, and continues to grow his program.
Our trip to this neighborhood was the second for the Guerreiras Project. The first trip took place 5 months ago when we carried out our first workshop in the community. During the first workshop there had been only a handful of young girls participating among the many boys. This time we came back to find that because of our initial presence, they had been inspired to mount a full girls team that trained 3 times a week.
As the professional players stepped out of the van, truly exhausted from their 2-week long tournament but committed to their cause, the kids looked up at them, drop-jawed and wide eyed in awe. One squealed to her friend, “Thaisinha!”, as the national team young star forward, who recently played at the London 2012 Olympics for Brazil alongside Marta, crawled out of the back of the van. Their excitement could not be contained.
We started with the players talking a little bit about their journeys to becoming players. Most of them came from similar communities all over Brazil, and fought hard against prejudice and even violence to play the game they loved. They have made it to the top of their game but there is nothing glamorous about this top with crammed communal living, limited medical support, and very little compensation. They talk with the kids and ask them questions to get them thinking. ‘Are there things that you think girls can’t do that boys can? Why?’ ‘Are there people who say girls shouldn’t play soccer? Why do you think they think that?’ You can watch the kids bring their own unbiased, honest perspectives as they reconcile what they have been told about women as athletes with the strong, powerful bodies they see in front of them. And then we let loose and play. The girls balance showing off their skills, crossing the ball for a beautiful header goal or perfectly timed volley, with cheers from the crowd, to passing gently to one of the littlest girls who quickly passes it right back in astonishment.
We say, “Não pode ser que não pode ver” or “You can’t be what you can’t see,” and this has a dual meaning. Not only are the young girls seeing the option they could only have dreamed up for themselves but the players too are seeing the power of their own voices and stories. Space is being created for them to look at each other and realize the potential.”
– Anna Fiastro
The GUERREIRASPROJECT (GP) and love.fútbol (LF), a non-profit organization that mobilizes underserved communities to build accessible and safe spaces for youth to play football, launched their partnership with the Vitoria de Santo Antão Women’s Professional Football Club in Recife, Brazil on Friday April 27th. The partnership represents an innovative approach to gender and ‘sport for development’ through which safe football spaces, professional female players, and local communities are brought together in a powerful triad. LF’s community-driven approach creates the physical and psychological football space as a platform for future development; the GP builds the capacity of professional female players to serve as role models and ambassadors of the game in the community; and a 10-week local campaign titled ‘Não Se Pode Ser o Que Não Se Pode Ver’ (You Can’t be What You Can’t See) is used to launch the gender-sensitive space. This space serves as a community platform for increasing the visibility of female role models, allowing their voices to be heard, and enabling new voices and bodies to participate in the nation’s most popular game. Ultimately, the project uses football as a tool for challenging narrow gender norms that have restricted girls’ and women’s involvement in the game, while simultaneously promoting individual and community empowerment.
Embaixadoras do GUERREIRASPROJECT Recife
The Guerreiras Project carried out a series of Futebol & Gender Dialogues with coaches, parents and players in Port of Spain, Trinidad in collaboration with TTASPE during the Next Step Sport for Development event November 8th-13th, 2011.
Voices from Futebol & Gender Dialogues, Trinidad<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/67002689″>2007-12-21 02 28 32</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user18551058″>caitlin fisher</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p> <p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/67003998″>Trinidad & Tobago – Ebony</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user18551058″>caitlin fisher</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p> <p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/67005777″>2007-12-21 06 09 26</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user18551058″>caitlin fisher</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p> <p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/67005798″>2007-12-20 07 58 52</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user18551058″>caitlin fisher</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
The GUERREIRASPROJECT Futebol & Gender Workshop launched in May 2011. It has been taken to various venues and forums, including the Gender Institute at the London School of Economics (LSE) and the Brazilian Embassy in Berlin during the 2011 FIFA Women´s World Cup. The multimedia piece, which combines audio interviews, writing, ambient sounds and still imagery, serves as the entrance point for a session that encourages participants to think critically about notions of empowerment, shifting gender norms, and deeper sustainable change. We use futebol and gender as our lens to highlight the ways different systems of subordination operate and to reveal the ways liberating movements can get neutralized. In the session, we encourage participants to rethink the meaning of empowerment and the significance of `sport for change´, and we challenge participants to consider how these concepts apply to other realms outside of football.
The GUERREIRASPROJECT is actively promoting these workshops in line with cultural and international events including the upcoming 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. We aim to bring together different groups of people and organizations to discuss these issues in open dialogue, and we are currently working with a series of different partners, collaborators and professionals who are directly and indirectly connected to the initiative.
(Caitlin speaking during the Gender Kicks tour in Hamburg, Germany.)
GUERREIRASPROJECT workshop at the Gender Institute, London School of Economics.