But in several countries, girls are not allowed to play. In others, they are discriminated against.
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Even in football-crazy Brazil, women come up against a lot of challenges as Irene Caselli, Claudia Jardim and Mariangela Maturi found when they spoke to well-established and aspiring female footballers in Africa, Europe and Latin America. Not only does she hold the record for the most goals scored at the Women's World Cup, girla is also the only woman to have been named the world's best female footballer five times.
Nevertheless, Marta says she did not have an easy time of it starting out in football. They didn't accept it because people still thought that girls weren't allowed to play football," she recalls.
The ban had been in place from until and clearly influenced the way even players regarded women. It comes as little surprise that prejudice and stereotypes remained even after the ban was lifted.
Born in Dois Riachos, a small town in the poor state of Alagoas in north-eastern Brazil, Marta had to struggle to be recognised. Fighting sexism in sport Brought up by her mother after her parents separated when she was only one, she learned to play football with the boys in the streets of her hometown.
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If her older brother approached, she would hide, afraid he might punish her for playing a "men's game". I looked around, I stopped to think, and I just couldn't understand it," she recalls. But it proved to be a fleeting victory as Laura was again banned from playing in the second phase of the tournament in Since then, things should have changed, and it should be allowed for girls to be able to play.
Since the s, few resources have been dedicated to women's football in Brazil. Several national tournaments were discontinued, and female Braziluan earn so little they often have to work another job.
Brazil's national women's football league was launched as recently as and even top teams are severely underfunded. They have no dedicated coach with a senior player taking on coaching duties instead. Going abroad to make it Despite Brazilians' love of football, the best female players move abroad to make their career at foreign clubs.
Marta, for example, moved to Sweden at age 18 and now holds dual nationality. Role models have worked in some countries, such as Denmark where Nadia Nadim is inspiring girls from different ethnic backgrounds to play football. Related Topics.